Arthritis Friendly Exercises

Although most of the patients with arthritis are forced to become inactive due to pain that aggravates even with limited activity, but still exercise plays a major role in improving pain, functioning of the joint and mental status of the individual. Exercise even in terms of restricted physical activity can prove to be very beneficial for patients with arthritis.

In addition to this exercise is also important to maintain a healthy weight especially in arthritis patients. But exercises like running, jogging, and aerobics becomes more difficult and can put too much stress on the affected joints. This may hasten the arthritis process and can cause injury which will further cause more pain and discomfort to the patient. So these activities are not recommended in case of arthritis.

Arthritis Exercises

On the other hand, following types of exercise are particularly well suited for people with arthritis:

  • Swimming because buoyancy of water helps to alleviate pain during water exercise

  • Cycling (especially on a recumbent stationary bike, which is easier on knees and hips than a standard bike) strengthens key muscles like the quadriceps

  • Elliptical trainers

  • Low-impact aerobics

  • Strength training

  • Gentle stretching and movements that take joints through their full span

  • Aerobic/endurance exercise

What kinds of exercises are restricted in patients with arthritis?

Before starting any exercise regime, patient should check with the doctor about the feasibility of those exercises in their condition. In most of the cases of arthritis, following types of physical movements or exercises should not be done to avoid any further damage to the joint:

  • Any movement that is causing or aggravating pain

  • Joint (not muscle) soreness that lasts more than two hours after workout

  • Physical sports like golf, volleyball, rowing or tennis that involve arching and twisting of back

  • High-impact activities that involve running and jumping

  • Any abdominal exercises with hands behind the head

  • Toe touches

  • Straight-leg sit-ups

  • Double leg lifts

  • Lifting weights

Advantages of low levels of exercise in individuals with arthritis

  • Improved motion & functioning of the joints

  • Maintain and improve the flexibility in the joints

  • Decreased fatigue

  • Eases joint inflammation

  • Improves energy

  • Promotes the flow of feel-good, pain-relieving chemicals like endorphins

  • Reduced risk of diseases related to arthritis like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.

  • Prevents joint stiffness

  • Builds, maintains and improves muscle strength

  • Improves muscle endurance

  • Beneficial for heart, bones, and mood

So all in all mild to moderate exercise is very important for arthritis patient to improve the condition and prevent the disease from getting worse. However, every patient and their disease are different. So before starting any kind of exercise or following a regime, it is highly recommended to consult your doctor and get his approval. Your doctor and physical therapist are the best persons who can design an exercise plan that is best suited to your needs and disease.