Patients with chronic joint pain often hear recommendations to exercise. Movement aids lubrication of the joints, which in turns helps reduce stiffness and aching. That said, not all exercises are created equal. Depending on the severity of your arthritis or similar condition, certain exercises may exacerbate your pain rather than relieve it.
Low-impact workouts and routines such as walking, yoga, and cycling offer aerobic benefits in addition to relief from joint pain. They require little to no equipment, do not require gym fees, and people of most ages can participate. For other types of exercise, however, one should either use caution or avoid altogether in one lives with a specific type of pain:
Plyometrics are a series of intense jumping exercises designed to strengthen muscles and improve speed and agility. Plyometric exercises are popular among athletes and are performed in multiple sets with repetitions. Examples of plyometric drills include squat jumps, “burpees,” and clapping pushups.
Because of the intensity of these exercises and for the exertion placed on the body, especially the legs and knees, they are not recommended for people with arthritis or other joint problems.
Some will argue that Crossfit exercises such as the kettlebell swing and various weight presses offer benefits to people with arthritis, one must approach this workout with caution. Like plyometrics, Crossfit is a high-impact workout with results seen among people with stable joints. If done incorrectly, one might risk muscle tears and further joint damage.
Depending on the severity of your joint discomfort, you should use caution when taking to the tennis, squash or racquetball court. Such activities require agility and running that can wear down on the knees, and the twisting involved in reaching for the ball may risk injury to the wrists and back.
The sports you ultimately play to keep up your exercise regimen, however, are up to you. Consider your current physical health and abilities, and consult with your orthopaedic physician before getting into a strenuous sport. At Bon Secours Virginia Orthopaedic and Spine Specialists, our physicians and therapists help patients determine the best course of care for their conditions. Contact us today to learn more about our minimally-invasive treatments and physical therapies.