Five exercises to help keep your body flexible, strong and safe from injury.
Arthritis can affect more than the joints. Along with pain, you can have fatigue and weakness. Feeling exhausted can interfere with daily life. But there are ways to help you stay active and energized.
Recruiting a walking buddy — whether human or fur-covered — can help you stay committed. Share “date walks” with your spouse, catch up with an old friend or even borrow your neighbor’s dog as you stroll through the neighborhood.
It’s okay to start slowly and gradually work your way up to more intense exercises. Remember: your goal may not be to run a marathon — but it’s essential to keep moving!
The same exercise routine becomes boring whether or not you have arthritis. Trying new ways to stay active can motivate you to stick with it. Love to walk? Vary your route. Enjoy yoga? Discover different styles, including Bikram, Vinyasa and restorative.
Being overweight or obese can be hard on your joints and makes exercising difficult. Eating a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products is important. Adding fish to the menu or taking fish oil supplements may help too — there is evidence that omega-3 fatty acids reduce stiffness and inflammation.
Clearly, if you’re in pain, you’re less likely to be active. A support or brace can help alleviate arthritis pain by providing warmth, compression and comfort. You can find a variety of different products available, whether you have pain in the back, knee, wrist, thumb, ankle or elbow.
Icing affected joints can minimize inflammation and reduce pain, especially with a newly inflamed joint. However, since cold therapy can cause stiffness to local tissues, heat applications can sometimes work best early in the day by relaxing muscles around the joints, while icing at the end of the day can minimize inflammation from daily activities.
So you’ve worked hard to stay active. You have more energy. You feel good. It’s time to give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. Whether it’s getting a massage, mani-pedi, shopping trip, dinner out or new ride-on mower, make sure your first arthritis treatment is giving yourself the royal treatment. No one deserves it more!