When arthritis pain flares up and every single movement is fraught with pain, the very thought of exercising can be enough to make you cringe. But medical researchers agree that exercise is vital for the treatment and prevention of the pain associated with arthritis. According to the National Institutes of Health, arthritis is the nation’s number one cause of disability and more than 50 million adults suffer from the disease. Many sufferers are not involved in any type of exercise program even though research has confirmed that regular physical movement keeps joints strong and lubricated which helps control swelling and pain. As an added bonus, exercise helps keep off the excess pounds that put additional stress on achy joints.
Because people with arthritis sometimes resort to sedentary lifestyle they put themselves at higher risks for other illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and certain types of cancer. Exercise also provides significant psychological benefits for people who are struggling with the pain, limited mobility and lifestyle adjustments that are associated with arthritis. The type of exercise that is best for you will depend on the type of arthritis you have, the joints involved, and the amount of inflammation. You should consult your holistic practitioner or physical therapist to develop a personalized plan.
Yoga, Tai Chi and warm water exercises are good choices for most people because they involve slow, fluid movements that relax muscles and improve range of motion. Yoga stretches not only the muscles but also the soft tissues of or body, including ligaments, tendons and the fascia sheath that surrounds the muscles. Yoga is safe for people of all ages and fitness levels because the exercises cater to the needs of each individual. Tai Chi is a gentle form or martial arts that originated in ancient China and involves a series of slow movements similar to those used in yoga.
Warm water exercises provide excellent benefits for people with arthritis. Warm water provides soothing relief for sore muscles and helps support the body while the joints are moved through the range of motion. When you immerse your body in warm water your body temperature rises which causes your blood vessels to dilate and increases circulation.
Walking is another good activity for arthritis sufferers. Walking strengthens the bones and also helps keep the joints flexible. With spring just around the corner, walking provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and explore the wonders of nature.
If you are among the 50 million Americans who suffer from arthritis, it’s time to get moving. Don’t be tempted to give in to a sedentary lifestyle because inactivity is your worst enemy. Make exercise a central part of your overall arthritis management plan so you can maximize your mobility and keep your pain at bay.