Everyone is at a different level of “exercise” when it comes to inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Also, each human is a bit different, of course! Someone might have a “bad shoulder” or a “bum knee”. It’s important to understand some basic concepts about exercise and arthritis:
- You will NOT cause further damage to your joints by staying active. The more you move, the more you lube!
- You CAN modify everything to suit your needs and pain. There is no such thing as “too little” or “not enough”.
- Any daily exercise WILL combat fatigue! (Oh… the dreaded fatigue!) Exercise a little bit everyday and you will have more physical stamina and mental clarity.
I recommend basic exercises as follows:
- The importance of stretching cannot be stressed enough! This will increase flexibility, increase range of motion, promote that lubrication of the joints which relieves pain, and can undo the day’s stress of sitting at a computer, lying in bed, or caring for others.
- I recommend holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeating it 2-3 times.
- Can’t reach your toes? Try a yoga strap! (Stay tuned as this is one of my favorite “featured products” coming up in another newsletter!)
- Walking is the BEST exercise ANYONE can do!
- Outside, inside, alone, with a group, with a friend, with a stroller…. The list goes on and on!
- Pump those arms, wiggle that butt, just move! Can you walk 100 feet? ¼ mile? 5 miles? Remember, no matter what you’re doing, you’re doing better than those still sitting on their couch!
- Water exercise
- Water aerobics is a great option. This off-loads weight from the joints and may even temporarily relieve joint pain.
- If you don’t have access to a class, you can always walk laps in the pool. This has the same benefits of walking, but with the benefits of off-loading your weight and relieving joint pain.
- Tai Chi or Yoga
- If you have access to these structured classes, these are really great options. Low impact with high benefit, these classes will also help with mental health and clarity too!
- Hand exercises
- Oh the DREADED HANDS! Did this make you grimace? Me too…. BUT a simple squeeze ball 10-20 times a day can go a long way!
Remember: You are only competing with yourself! Do the best YOU can do and be the BEST that YOU can be!
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