If you have arthritis, don’t be surprised if your doctor writes you a prescription for exercise. While you should avoid vigorous exercise during a severe bout of arthritis, physical activity offers several health benefits.
Exercise will improve your muscular strength and endurance including around the joints affected by arthritis. After you’ve been exercising regularly, you will likely have better range of joint motion and flexibility as well as decreased pain and stiffness. Some people with arthritis credit exercise for improving their motor coordination.
Here are eight guidelines to help you make exercise a part of your arthritis treatment:
- Check with your doctor first to see if exercise is safe for you.
- Take extra time to warm up before you exercise and to cool down. This will help you manage any pain you have.
- Try low-impact exercises such as stationary cycling and water exercise. Avoid high-impact movements that can be painful.
- Stretch everyday. Gentle stretches will help your muscle and joint mobility. Try yoga if your doctor says it is OK.
- Incorporate better eating habits with your exercise routine to lose any excess weight you have. Carrying too much weight is a risk factor for osteoarthritis.
- If you have severe pain or inflammation, don’t work out as hard or as often during this time
- Aim for exercising frequently at a low-intensity to reap the most health benefits with the least risk.
- If you have pain that continues for two hours or more after exercising, try a lower intensity for a shorter amount of time the next time you work out.
+ Learn more about treatment options for arthritis from the orthopaedic specialists at Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists.