Studies show that light exercise and movement can improve pain and stiffness when you have arthritis. Arthritis is when at least one of your joints is inflamed. Inflamed joints can cause pain, swelling and stiffness. This can limit your mobility and make it harder to enjoy things you love. Arthritis can occur at any age but tends to affect older adults more. Luckily, in conjunction with medication and guidance from your care provider, there are low-intensity exercises to help you stay in shape and feel less pain when you have arthritis. Always talk with your doctor before starting a new workout routine.
1. Resistance training
Resistance training helps strengthen your muscles and bones. Stronger muscles can help protect your joints from pressure and external forces by providing a protective barrier. This can help you move more smoothly while decreasing pain. Lifting weights, using resistance bands or trying exercises that use your own body weight are great resistance training options.
Stretching is helpful for arthritis because it sends lubrication to stiff, dry joints. A regular stretch routine helps maintain your range of motion. If you stretch daily, you may notice your flexibility improving over time. You can do short, 5- minute stretch routines at the beginning or end of your day. You might also try gentle yoga, which can help relieve stress in addition to arthritis pain. Try these pointers to kick-start your own stretch routine:
3. Walking, hiking and cycling
Low-impact “everyday” exercises like walking, hiking or cycling can be a great way to start moving more for your arthritis. Walking first thing in the morning is a great way to start your day. Go online to find low-intensity hiking options nearby. You can even make it a weekend habit to hike or bike your favorite trails. On days when it’s too rainy, cold or hot, use a stationary bike or treadmill to stay in motion.
4. Pilates and yoga
Pilates is a type of resistance training that uses your body weight to build strength through slow, controlled movements. In a similar way, yoga uses your body weight, controlled movements and breath. Some Pilates and yoga exercises include squats, lunges, leg raises, planks and various yoga poses. You may be able to find group Pilates classes or yoga classes in your area. There are also plenty of free online videos and resources to guide you at any skill level and ability. Check out these beginner yoga resources:
When you use an elliptical machine, you move as if you are walking, but there is very little impact on your joints. This can be ideal for people with hip and knee arthritis. Using an elliptical comes with many of the same benefits as walking, but with even less impact. In fact, using the elliptical is an effective cardio workout without the wear and tear of walking or running. You can adjust the intensity of your workout by adding resistance or timed sprints.