It is crucial for people with arthritis to exercise. Not only does it reduce joint pain, but it also increases flexibility and strength and helps fight fatigue. We at Jersey Premier Pain understand that for those with stiff and painful joints, the thought of swimming a few laps or even walking around the block can feel overwhelming.
The good news is that even a very moderate amount of exercise can reduce arthritis symptoms. You don’t have to run a four-minute mile or swim the English Channel to see improvement. When arthritis is pushing your limits of pain tolerance, push back with these three forms of safe exercise.
These exercises can relieve stiffness and help your joints’ ability to move through their full range of motion. These can usually be daily exercises.
- Toe Curls: These can be done while lying in bed when you first wake up in the morning. While lying on your back, just curl your toes down toward the sole of your foot, then extend them up toward the ceiling. You may do both feet at once or one at a time.
- Ankle Circles: From a seated position, slowly move your ankle in clockwise circles. Move as if there is a pencil between your toes and you are writing the letter “O.” Then do the same thing counterclockwise.
- Arm Circles: Hold your arms out straight, perpendicular to your body. Then, move them slowly and gently in small circles.
- Shoulder Roll: Simply roll your shoulders forward and back in a circle. Do this several times and then reverse it.
- Hugs: Let your arms hang loosely by your sides while standing or sitting. Then raise your arms forward to shoulder height. It should look like you were going to give someone a hug.
- Wrist Curls: Form two gentle fists with your hands. Then curl the palms of your hands toward your forearms. Slowly repeat the motion.
Weight or resistance training builds strong muscles that, in turn, support and protect your joints. It is important to consult with a physiatrist, physical therapist, or certified personal trainer before you begin a strength training program. With their help, you can design a program specifically for you that addresses your condition and your affected joints. This is the best way to ensure you are safely protecting your joints as you gain strength.
Tips for a safe and effective strength program include:
- Optimize Your Weekly Sessions: At first, you might attempt strength training sessions three times a week. This will jump-start your improvement. But two sessions a week is all you need to maintain your gains.
- Rest Is Important: Remember to leave time for your muscles to recover after a workout. Try not to exercise the same muscles two days in a row. Rest a minimum of one day between workouts. If your joints are painful or swollen from the workout, rest an extra day or two.
- No Membership Required: It is not necessary to join a gym to gain strength. You can make use of barbells, resistance bands, or even gravity in the comfort of your own home.
- Choose Your Moment: It makes sense to strength train at a time of day when your symptoms are less severe. This varies from person to person, so be aware of your pain levels during the day.
- Always Warm Up: Reserve a few minutes before your strength training session for some gentle stretching. Also, a post-workout stretching session helps with recovery, as does ice therapy.
- Safety First: Some muscle soreness from strength training is to be expected. But, if you experience any sudden sharp pain, stop exercising immediately.
Some good examples of low-impact aerobic activities are swimming, bicycling, using an elliptical machine, or taking a good old-fashioned walk. The safest choice here is to maintain a moderate intensity.
Here are some tips for a safe and successful aerobic routine:
- Move gently: Warm your joints up slowly. In addition to stretching, it might be wise to begin with some range-of-motion exercises before moving on to an aerobic workout.
- Go Slowly: If you feel pain in excess of your usual joint pain, take a break.
- Ice Afterward: Swelling can be reduced by icing your joints for up to twenty minutes.
Contact Us at Jersey Premier Pain
If you are experiencing pain that does not let up, don’t face it alone. The goal of our Jersey City arthritis pain management specialists at Jersey Premier Pain is to provide life-changing pain relief. Call us at 201-386-8800 to schedule an appointment today.