At one time, even moderate exercise was thought to be a bad thing for a person with arthritis. Exercise, it was believed, would cause joint damage. But this idea is being replaced by encouragement to moderate exercise.
Stiffness and pain from arthritis diminish when a moderate exercise regimen is practiced on a regular basis. Muscles are strengthened which benefits the joints. Moderate exercise can make a patient with arthritis more flexible. It can increase their physical endurance.
Research from Duke University Medical Center supports the idea that moderate exercise can reduce stiffness and pain from arthritis.
Findings were reported in a Sept. 30, 2011 article on Enn.com. They were published on Sept. 27, 2011 in the online journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.
Researchers studied male mice, some of whom were put through workouts on running wheels and some of whom were not. Even for male mice on a high fat diet, their glucose tolerance improved. The tendency toward arthritis was decreased because the inflammatory response also decreased.
Moderate exercise can be very helpful to the beleaguered joints in a person with arthritis. It can cut down on inflammation.
Moderate exercise helps a person with arthritis to sleep better at night. It reduces the risk of weight gain. It can reduce the risk for heart disease and osteoporosis.
A patient with arthritis who has not been in the habit of getting moderate exercise may find the idea of a full-blown exercise regimen intimidating. Movement hurts, so why would they want to do more of it?
It's a good idea to start out small. You are less likely to hurt yourself, and more likely to feel able to continue.
Worried that you're just too broken down to be able to exercise? Even a person with arthritis who needs a cane to walk can take small steps toward becoming more fit.
Flexibility exercises are a good place to start. Stretching will increase your flexibility and will increase your ability to move.
Water exercises are beneficial because the water decreases the effects of stress on your joints. At the same time your muscles will become stronger and your range of motion will gradually expand.
Tai chi is a gentle, slow-moving form of exercise that can strengthen without overstressing the body of a patient with arthritis.
More advanced types of exercise are resistance training and endurance training. Resistance training is working with weights. Biking is an example of endurance training. At the onset of your moderate exercise regimen these types of exercise may seem out of reach, but if you take your time and increase gradually, you may find yourself able to do more than you ever hoped.
Introduction to Exercise. Arthritis.org. Retrieved Oct. 17, 2011.
Try exercise to ease arthritis pain, stiffness. Health. harvard.edu. April 22, 2011. Retrieved Oct. 17, 2011.
Exercise and Arthritis. Enn.com. Retrieved Oct. 17, 2011.
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Reviewed October 18, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN