Arthritis is extremely well known for wreaking havoc on your joints, and it causes huge problems for millions of people across the world, including with their exercise. It causes extreme pain in some cases, and for others, movement is just not an option. In reality, that makes thing even worse.

Because of all of this, arthritis is the reason for a huge number of people becoming less active. The pain that comes with exercising regularly and properly is nightmarish. Even on top of that, the importance of the exercise in the first place seems to be forgotten too in some cases, and that can be just as bad. It's pivotal to a healthy life and even reducing the symptoms after all.

So, what can be done about it?

There are three main types of exercise that need to be considered when it comes to exercising with arthritis. They're all extremely valuable to everyone no matter where the arthritis is inflicting. they help in their own unique way, and all of it adds up to help with your health.

With the right exercises, you can improve:

  • Flexibility
  • Mobility
  • Stability
  • Pain infliction
  • Damage reversal
  • Surgery prevention

Many of these exercises can help keep active in the long term, and even reverse some of the damage done by arthritis as far as to prevent surgery if that is going to be the case in the future. It's pretty miraculous!

Let's go into more depth:

Flexibility

a class of older people stretching

The first type of exercise we'll look at is aimed at improving flexibility. This is possibly the lowest impact and the easiest exercise to do, but it can be one of the most helpful if done right.

As arthritis continues to cause excessive damage to your joints, flexibility becomes more and more of a challenge. That usually results in a limited range of movement and even more pain as time goes on. Performing exercises that use the full range of motion of the affected areas can not only maintain their current flexibility but also help to improve it in the long run too!

Exercises that use this full motion range don't have to be anything dramatic either. We're not suggesting you go for a run every day from now on or anything like that (although it's not a bad thing to do some days). Instead, using a good stretching routine is an excellent way to go about doing it. Find stretches for the affected area and work from there. There are tonnes out there to choose from, just find the best fit.

Endurance

a person walking their dog in the woods

The second type of exercise recommended for arthritis is endurance-based exercise. This isn’t training for a marathon or a triathlon or anything like that either. Instead, try and find more simplistic cardiovascular exercises a few times a week. Walking, hiking or even stepping can be good ways to do it (as a form of LISS - see here for more). Water aerobics is incredible as well!

This type of exercise is essential to keep your heart and the lungs in good condition. It helps to maintain a huge range of healthy organs, it can be an awesome way to prevent and manage other things too. There aren't many bad points to it!

More aerobic exercise also means that more calories are used in a day, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight which is really crucial in reducing the pressure that is being applied to your joints because for the extra weight. That alone can help with some of the pain in many cases. (It can even help sleep too, which is another factor of a healthy lifestyle and healthier body all round).

These benefits are generally applied to everyone across the board, no matter what their current fitness levels. The ideal amount of this type of exercise does differ slightly from person to person, but generally speaking, around 150 minutes a week spent doing moderate exercise are adequate in maintaining good health.

Strength

an older person lifting a dumbbell

Lastly, we'll take a look at strength training. This is one of the best ways to protect everything from your bones and joints to your mental well being, but let's stick to arthritis for the time being!

On top of maintaining good health in general, weight training for arthritis is an incredibly effective way to improve muscle mass (which we'll come onto), as well as stability that protects joints, reduces risk of injury from falls and knocks, and improves bone density which can all work to help your arthritis in the long and the short term.

Even more specifically, the increased support that extra muscle offers to afflicted joints helps arthritis more than anything else too. this weight loss is a great way to reduce the pressure on your joints, and manage the pressure that's still there too. It also acts as a cushion for your joints, and that all comes together to really help.

a person clasping their finger joints

What to do now

Overall, exercise is advised to everyone who is physically able to do it. Everyone has different needs and capabilities, and it just depends on what works best for you as an individual.

Exercise for disabling diseases such as arthritis can be drastically harder, so it’s essential to consult with a medical professional to find out what may well work best for you. It's different for everyone, and you really need a workout routine perfect for you. That's something only a medical professional would be able to advise.

Further Information:

www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/benefits/osteoarthritis-exercise.php

www.nhs.uk/conditions/arthritis/living-with/

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Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.