Hi Everyone!!  Prevention is the key to fighting symptoms of osteoarthritis.  We all know somebody who experiences the symptoms of arthritis… pain, swelling, heat in the joint (creaking cracking and crinkling with a few Grandad groans thrown in!!)

Knee arthritis causes cartilage to wear away from the joint, making exercise painful.  The image included paints a better picture! OUCHHH!!!

With Winter being the way it was here in Ireland, I have been treating a lot of patients going through the ‘wars’ with arthritis.  So I figured I’d make a few suggestions as regards exercise plans to help reduce arthritic pain.

Exercise for Joint Pain

Exercise is important for people with arthritis and for people who have had a joint replaced. Keeping your weight down and your muscles strong can help to delay joint replacement and improve results after surgery.   The following exercises should help keep your joints fit and healthy!

Pilates

Pilates is a great way to strengthen the most important muscles in the body (the core muscles – abdomen, lower back) in a low-impact, safe manner. You may think Pilates cannot stimulate a sufficient workout but… trust me, I’ve done a course of Pilates classes and they are more than sufficient once you have a good trainer! Muscles feel strong, yet flexible after a class.  It has become a popular tool for injury treatment and prevention even with professional athletes.

Swimming

For all you water babies and mermaids out there!   With swimming, your joints are supported by the water, easing arthritic pain. For people with the most severe arthritis in their hip or knee, swimming can be done with a float to give you a good cardiovascular workout without placing any burden on your hip or knees.  This low impact exercise is great for increasing mobility and strengthening muscles!  Work those mussels…!!  (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Cycling

Cycling is one of my favorite exercises, because not only is this a low-impact way to exercise, but the repeated circular movements when cycling is stimulating for the cartilage within a joint. Cycling gives a good muscular and cardiovascular workout.  It loosens up stiff joints common in people with arthritis. Maybe start off with using an exercise bike.  (and when you get bored of the gym or start to hang clothes on it, move outdoors!)

Weight Machines

Training with weights can help strengthen muscles and is also an excellent way to stimulate bone health. Exercising with weights must be done safely, but with proper instruction, just about anyone can learn a few good strength-training exercises. Even with a few dumbbells and some basic knowledge, a weight workout can be perfect for arthritis.

Walking:

Walking is a favorite activity of many arthritis patients. While it is not the best workout for those with arthritis, walking for exercise is certainly better than no exercise at all. So if you like to walk, then walk!  Remember… you have to walk before you can run!!  So start small…  try three short walks (ten mins each) a day and work up from there!  You’ll be running marathons before you know it!

So… get out and exercise!

As you can see, there are many options for exercise, even for those with joint pain from arthritis. Exercise has been shown to be useful for patients with arthritis both before and after joint-replacement surgery.

So, lecture over!  Get yourself out and exercise!

Bye for now,

Lorraine