Exercises to Help with Arthritis
A little while back, we wrote a blog about managing arthritis pain with exercise. Whether you’re an avid athlete or just getting into it, everyone is affected by motivation levels that are seemingly hills and valleys. Ask any athlete or bodybuilder, sometimes motivation is hard to find. Periods absent of motivation can cause people to stop their regime for a few weeks, or completely fall off the wagon. And if you suffer from arthritis, this can be very detrimental to your quality of life.
Fortunately, there are endless exercises, lifts, regimes and styles that will benefit your arthritis if you do get bored with what you’re doing. You can stick to one of listed below until it bores you, or routinely switch up styles to keep your motivation levels fresh.
Elliptical. An elliptical trainer is a great machine for handling arthritis. The machine is mostly utilized for cardio, but its resistance feature allows users to increase the resistance for muscle strength, or lower the resistance if joints are feeling extra-achy that day.
Arc Trainer. These are not available at every gym, so you will have to go out of your way to find one, but there are gyms in Lincoln that carry them. Similar to the elliptical, the arc trainer is more modern elliptical. Users can adjust incline levels to feel like a jog, an elliptical or a climber, targeting different muscles at different settings. The suspension system takes more pressure off joints and places it on the muscles needed to alleviate arthritis.
Weight Training. This isn’t limited to just weights, but resistance bands and body weight exercises are just as beneficial. The key to weight training with arthritis is not to overdo it. Slow and steady always wins the race. That being said, don’t be afraid to increase weight in order to progress, as weight training is a direct and deliberate way to increase muscle strength. Consider using a rep tempo—such as a 3-1-3 tempo—while weight training. A rep tempo helps with coordination and control to ensure tension is being placed on the muscle tissue—as it’s supposed to—and not tendons, ligaments and joints.
Yoga benefits its participants in many ways, from mental health and sleep to muscle strength. Even better, instructors can offer different forms and poses for people to accommodate their arthritis. Yoga benefits people with arthritis on multiple levels. The stretching and balancing poses improve flexibility, muscle strength, coordination, stability and control, all in one.
Walking is a low-impact way to manage arthritis and is a great option for people with severe arthritis. Take shorter strides to reduce the impact on arthritis-stricken knees. Consider tracking time, distance and speed and gradually increase them to effectively demonstrate progression.
Biking. Both stationary, recumbent and recreational, outdoor biking can alleviate arthritis. Just like the elliptical, stationary and recumbent bikes have resistance features while the difficulty of recreational biking is based on the terrain and route. Each of these will increase muscle strength in the legs and outdoor biking engages your core, balance and overall fitness. An important tip to remember is to make sure your bike is properly fitted to minimize mounting problems during the trip.
Swimming is a non-weight-bearing exercise that benefits the whole body; each stroke uses different muscle groups. Plus, water can have a soothing effect on the body. On a bad day, kick-boards can help modify swimming techniques to take pressure off throbbing joints.
When it comes to exercising with arthritis, never overdo it. Giving yourself a few days of rest until the pain subsides will never set you back. Always consult with your doctor before you begin an exercise program for your arthritis.