EXERCISE AND ARTHRITIS
BY DR AZLIN AHMAD,
Suffers from arthritis should not limit any physical activity and prevent you from doing exercise. An exercise and physical activity are essential to optimizing both physical and mental health. It is crucial for people with arthritis and offers additional benefits to improving and modifying arthritis.
Being physically active can also delay the onset of the arthritis-related disability and help people with arthritis manage other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Activities should be “joint-friendly.” Joint-friendly physical activities are low-impact, which means less stress on the body, reducing the risk of injury. Regular joint-friendly physical activity can improve your arthritis pain, keep the muscles around affected joints strong, decrease bone loss and maintain bone strength and may help control joint swelling and pain and improve quality of life. Regular activity replenishes lubrication to the cartilage of the joint and reduces stiffness and pain.
Exercise doesn't reverse the damage that's already done. But it helps prevent arthritis from getting worse, and it has the added benefit of keeping excess pounds off. That can make a huge difference on the joints that support most of the body's weight, the hips, and knees.
Choose activities that are easy on the joints like walking, bicycling, water aerobics, or dancing. These activities have a low risk of injury and do not twist or “pound” the joints too much.
Lack of exercise actually can make joints even more painful and stiff.
Before starting any exercise - Check with your doctor first
Discuss with your doctor about fitting exercise into the treatment plan. What types of exercises are best depends on type of arthritis and which joints are involved. Your doctor or a physical therapist can work and find the exercise plan that gives the most benefit with the least aggravation of the joint pain.
Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend exercises, which might include range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises, aerobic exercise, and other activities.
Duration and frequency of exercise with arthritis
People with arthritis should aim for 30 minutes of low-impact aerobic activity on most days, strength training activity twice a week, and balance exercises 3 times a week.
Safety of exercise in arthritis
Learn safely exercise and enjoy the benefits of increased physical activity with these S.M.A.R.T. tips.
- Start low, go slow.
- Modify activity when arthritis symptoms increase, try to stay active.
- Activities should be “joint-friendly.”
- Recognize safe places and ways to be active.
- Talk to a health professional or certified exercise specialist.
Tips to protect the joints
Start slowly to ease joints into exercise if haven't been active for a while. If push too hard, it can overwork the muscles and worsen the joint pain.
Consider these tips as get started:
Keep the impact low. Low impact exercises like stationary or recumbent bicycles, elliptical trainers, or exercise in the water help keep joint stress low while moving.
Apply heat. Heat can relax the joints and muscles and relieve any pain before begin. Heat treatments — warm towels, hot packs or a shower — should be warm, not painfully hot, and should be applied for about 20 minutes.
Move gently. Move the joints gently at first to warm up. Might begin with range-of-motion exercises for five to 10 minutes before move on to strengthening or aerobic exercises.
Go slowly. Exercise with slow and easy movements. If feel pain, take a break. Sharp pain and pain that is stronger than usual joint pain might indicate something is wrong. Slow down if notice swelling or redness in the joints.
Ice afterward. Apply ice to the joints for up to 20 minutes as needed after activity, especially after activity that causes joint swelling.
Trust your instincts and don't exert more energy than you think your joints can handle. Take it easy and slowly increase your exercise length and intensity as you progress.
If haven’t been active for a while, you might notice some pain after the exercise. In general, if sore for more than two hours after exercise, you were probably exercising too strenuously. Talk to your doctor if symptoms persists.
Tips to help manage pain during and after physical activity and keep exercising:
- Until the pain improves, modify the physical activity program by exercising less frequently (fewer days per week) or for shorter periods of time (less time each session).
- Try a different type of exercise that puts less pressure on the joints—for example, switch from walking to water aerobics.
- Do proper warm-up and cool-down before and after exercise..
- Exercise at a comfortable pace—which should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising.and make sure have good fitting, comfortable shoes,
Physically active individuals are healthier, happier and live longer than those who are inactive and unfit. This is especially true for people with arthritis.