Many people, because of arthritis pain and discomfort, convince themselves that they should not exercise. This actually makes the problem worse. The right exercise program will improve joint flexibility and eases pain.
- Start with range of motion. Do it least once a day, or twice if you can. Include all major muscle groups with gentle stretch movements, as many times as comfortable. Chest and shoulders, calves and back, hamstrings [back of thighs] and quadriceps [front of thighs]
- After flexibility improves, keep going to strengh exercises. Three times a week does it, with proper body alignment. Your joints don’t need any more stress. Light weights on affected joints can help.
- Gradually adding endurance exercises, such as low impact aerobics. Start with about 15 minutes about three times a week, progressing to over half an hour daily. Easy does it, cutting back whenever uncomfortable. You can include bicycling, walking, dancing, swimming, rowing, yoga, pilates, tai-chi. Mix them up to avoid a boring routine.
- Keep activity and rest in balance. Pain and stiffness may be less at mid-morning.
- Always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
- A personal trainer can tailor an arthritis pain relief program that’s just right for you.