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Exercise and Easing Arthritis Pain

16 August 2011 One Comment

Does exercise ease or reduce arthritic pain?

I decided to do some research on this recently because my arthritis is “acting up”. I have a long family history of osteoarthritis and have noticed some “aching joints” over the last few years. It has been annoying but hasn’t interfered with my life. It is definitely worse when storms are approaching… I feel like I can predict them now. So what can be done?

We already know that exercise is good for you. It can help with weight loss, increased energy, helps you sleep, maintains heart health, increases bone strength and density and increases muscle strength.

What I’ve learned is that exercise is good for arthritis. It can help with joint mobility, and movement helps transport nutrients and waste to and from the cartilage, which is the material that cushions the ends of the bones. Strengthening the muscles around the joints will also help to support them.

Different types of exercises play different roles in supporting the health of your joints:

Range of Motion Exercises consist of gentle stretching, either active or passive, through the full range of motion of the joint. These should be done on a daily basis to keep the joints mobile and prevent stiffness and deformities.

Strengthening Exercises do the obvious. The help strengthen the muscles around the joint for support. This stability will help you move more easily and without as much pain. There are two types of strengthening exercises:

  • Isometric exercises are good when movement is already impaired and involve tightening the muscles without movement of the joints.
  • Isotonic exercises involve movement of the muscles to help strengthen them.

Endurance exercises are physical activities that bring your heart rate up to your optimal target level for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Your target heart rate is computed based on age and physical condition. By raising the heart rate, endurance exercises improve cardiovascular fitness. Endurance exercises should be performed at least three times a week to build on their effectiveness.

Many arthritis patients who regularly perform endurance exercises find they are able to:

  • increase physical strength
  • develop a better mental attitude
  • improve arthritis symptoms

Not all arthritis patients are able to perform endurance exercises however. For example, patients with longterm rheumatoid arthritis who have severe joint damage and functional limitations may be unable to do this type of activity. Endurance exercises for arthritis patients need to be chosen carefully to avoid joint injury.

Exercise Choices: Obviously you would need to discuss any exercise program with your doctor to be certain that it is safe for you. But, some options would include a combination of those listed above. Walking, Yoga, Tai Chi, Water exercises, Cycling, and Running or Jogging.

Important things to remember:
  • Be consistent, working out on a daily basis and with a variety of options is best.
  • Increase and build gradually. Doing too much too soon can actually make pain worse.
  • Listen to your body and don’t overdo it.
  • If the joint feels hot do not exercise.
  • Set goals, but be realistic. You will improve over time if you are consistant.
  • Always use smooth, steady movements. Avoid jerky or bouncy movements that can cause stress on your joints.
  • Don’t forget to rest!
  • If your arthritis is advance you may need to start out with a physical therapist.
I for one can attest to the fact that exercise helps my joint pain tremendously. Keeping myself properly hydrated and eating a good healthy diet has also helped! I have noticed a big difference after completing P90X and Turbo Fire… I made progress slowly and improved my range of motion, strength and endurance. When I slip up and miss workouts or don’t eat right, I have an increase in my joint pain and have decreased range of motion. I also added Shakeology and Glucosamine-Chondroitin, both of which have improved my symptoms.
So, bottom line? Once again health and fitness via exercise programs and a healthy diet win again!
Have questions? Need help with your health and fitness? Want to improve you energy? Need support and motivation? I can provide all of these for free! I am an Independent Beachbody Coach and I’m here for you. Contact me below, or send me a Facebook message (you can get to my page by clicking below) or email me at lifechangingfitnessplan@gmail.com
Here’s to your health!

Slide show: Hand exercises for people with arthritis

By Mayo Clinic staff

Photographs of a hand demonstrating the bent finger hand exercise

Bend your fingers

 

Hand exercises may help improve muscle strength and joint range of motion in people who have arthritis. You can do hand exercises daily or, preferably, several times a day. You might find it helps to do hand exercises while soaking your hands in warm water. Know your limitations, though. Hand exercises shouldn’t cause pain.

Start your hand exercises by relaxing your hand. Start with your fingers straight and close together. Bend the end and middle joints of your fingers. Keep your wrist and knuckles straight. Moving slowly and smoothly, return your hand to the starting position. Repeat with your other hand. If you can, perform multiple repetitions of this exercise on each hand.

Another help for arthritis: Shakeology – drink once per day

some of the ingredients in Shakeology that may help with Arthritis and inflammation

BILBERRY – Bilberry is a deep blue fruit, bilberry is high in antioxidant-rich flavanoid compounds called anthocyanidins, which have been shown to play a supporting role in maintaining good cardiovascular health and a strong immune system. Bilberries are also linked to eye health, in particular the possibility of slowing or reversing the effects of macular degeneration. Helpful for supporting healthy blood sugar levels, bilberry is also used for its beneficial effects in improving blood circulation, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, and relief for nausea and indigestion. Bilberries are also known to be helpful for joint health, kidney and urinary tract health, menstrual cramps and diarrhea.

MAITAKE MUSHROOM – Maitake regulates blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, reduces inflammation, and blood clots, may help boost immunity, fend off infections and fight cancer

ROSE HIPS – Rose Hips are useful in the treatment of influenza-like infections, diarrhea, and various urinary tract disorders, shown to be useful in the treatment of patients suffering from knee or hip osteoarthritis.

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  • Jim said:

    P90X has done more for my joint pain than a truckload of medication ever could. Workout, keep moving and maintain your physical well being.

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