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Why You Should Still Exercise if You HAve Arthritis

When your joints are achy and painful, the thought of joining an aerobics class or even walking around the block may seem like an impossibility. But if you want to improve your arthritis and reduce pain, exercise may be exactly what you need.

Regular physical activity improves joint health and muscle strength, and it also can help you lose weight. Our arthritis experts at Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists often make exercise part of your treatment plan for your arthritic condition.

Exercise and joint health

Because you often associate movement with pain when you have arthritis, you may find it surprising that exercise is good for joint health. The benefits include:

Being active now may also help delay, or even prevent, the need for joint replacement surgery, especially if you have osteoarthritis.

Physical and mental benefits of exercise

Going for a walk with a friend or swimming a few laps in the pool can have a powerful effect on both your physical and mental well-being. The physical benefits of exercise include:

Depression and anxiety are common in people with arthritis and may reduce your tolerance for pain. In addition to improving heart health and helping you drop a few pounds, physical activity:

When it comes to exercise, the hardest part may be getting started.

Good exercises when you have arthritis

A good exercise program should include muscle strengthening, cardiovascular strengthening, and range-of-motion exercises. But before you get started, be sure to first check in with us so we can assess your fitness level and make specific recommendations for exercises that work best for you.

Muscle strengthening

Weight training, body resistance exercises, and yoga fall into the category of muscle strengthening exercises. These are the types of movements that help improve the strength of the muscles around your joints for better support.

You should practice muscle strengthening exercises three days a week, but don’t work out the same muscle group two days in a row. If your joints are swollen and painful, it’s OK to skip a day to allow the swelling to go down.

Cardiovascular strengthening

Walking, swimming, and aerobics work to get your heart pumping. Cardiovascular strengthening, also referred to as aerobic exercise, is responsible for improving your all-around fitness level. This type of exercise also releases those feel-good endorphins that help lift your mood.

While we recommend you try to fit in cardiovascular strengthening most days of the week for at least 30 minutes, you benefit even if you can walk or swim at least two days. Starting slowly also helps with endurance and prevents burnout, especially when you’re new to exercise.

Range-of-motion exercises

Limited range of motion (ROM) is a common problem when you have arthritis. Improving your joint range with certain exercises reduces pain and improves your quality of life. Examples of ROM exercises include raising your arms over your head and stretching your hips and knees.

Because these exercises are very specific, we can help devise a routine that helps improve your range of motion.

Keeping it safe

When starting an exercise program, it’s important to be careful so you avoid worsening your pain or causing an injury.

If you’re ready to start an exercise program to improve your arthritis, call us today or book an appointment online via our patient portal so we can help you get moving.

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Ream and Run Shoulder Replacement Success...x2!

I enjoy sharing this story because it is a testament to patient's who are seeking a solution to shoulder arthritis who want to remain highly active. I am grateful for patients like Fred who give me the opportunity to improve their overall quality of life!