It used to be that doctors would recommend that their arthritis patients take it easy and not exercise. Well, those days are over. In reality, exercise is crucial for those with arthritis. According to the CDC, “physical activity can reduce [joint] pain and improve function, mobility, mood, and quality of life for most adults with many types of arthritis including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and lupus.” It can be one of the best ways of managing the disease. The he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Arthritis Foundation, and the American College of Rheumatology all recommend physical activity as a way of managing almost all forms of arthritis.
“Exercise keeps the muscles strong around a joint so that the mechanics works,” explains Patience White, M.D., M.A., vice president of public health at the Arthritis Foundation. “In the lower extremities, the knee is usually the first joint to experience pain for the 27 million people who suffer from osteoarthritis. If a person loses about 10 pounds and keeps exercising, they can cut the pain in their knees by about 50 percent and can even postpone a joint replacement.”
While exercise does increase strength and mobility, it can seem daunting when stiff and painful joints are already weighing you down. But don’t worry, you don’t need to run a marathon to help reduce symptoms of arthritis. There are many forms of low-impact ways to build strength and joint function. These can be done via a self-guided fitness program or in one of the many programs available in communities across the country. The Arthritis Foundation actually has developed a program that is available both by DVD and in person classes. Check out the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program!
The Department of Health and Human Services has released Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans based on the most up-to-date science regarding the health benefits of a physically active lifestyle. These guidelines are for people of all ages and fitness abilities including those with chronic conditions including arthritis. Adults with arthritis should follow either the Active Adult or Active Older Adult Guidelines. People with arthritis should also include daily stretching to maintain joint range of motion. For important health benefits, both sets of guideline call for:
The Active Older Adult Guidelines also calls for activities that promote balance at least 3 days per week.
How Stuff Works created a list of the top 10 exercises for people with arthritis with input from Patience White, vice president of public health at the Arthritis Foundation.
Top 10 Exercises For People With Arthritis
1: Working With A Personal Trainer or Physical Therapist
2: Dance Classes
5: Stationary or Outdoor Cycling
7: Tai Chi
8: Strength and Resistance Training
10: Aquatic Exercise
If you’re looking for a great, portable way to be active, check out the Stamina InStride Folding Cycle at the Cave. It comes with the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease-of-Use Commendation and is available at my “rock bottom” prices!