Exercise for Those with Arthritis and Joint Problems
Exercise is an important component in staying healthy when you have arthritis. Moderate physical activity on a regular basis helps decrease fatigue, strengthens muscles and bones, increases flexibility and stamina, and improves your general sense of well-being.
Check with your doctor or physical therapist to see which stretching, resistance and aerobic exercises you can safely do. Even ten minutes a day can make a difference to your mobility. For those who can’t do ‘regular’ exercises, you can still move. Vickie Spainhour, exercise physiologist with the Duke University Center for Living in Chapel Hill, N.C. advises using ankle weights (the kind that fasten with Velcro) attached to your wrists and ankles, or hand weights. You can also do shoulder rolls, leg lifts and arm raises while sitting down. Water aerobics is another option, and it doesn’t put pressure on sore joints.
Have you ever considered using a mini-trampoline (or a rebounder)? Here are some benefits.
- Fights fatigue by strengthening the glandular system to increase the capabilities of the thyroid gland, the pituitary gland and the adrenals.
- Rebounding specifically stimulates the flow of lymph fluid through the lymphatic system. The change in gravitational forces allows for greater blood flow. This increases the amount of waste and toxins flushed from the body. Rebounding can increase lymph flow by up to 15%!
- Rebounding has a natural analgesic effect on the body which helps to relieve aching joints and pain in the neck, back, and head through the increase of circulation and oxygen flow. Conditions and strengthens the heart, which allows the resting heart to beat less often. This in turn sends a stronger surge of blood through the veins.
- It provides an extremely effective ‘no impact’ exercise especially important for those with less mobility or undergoing rehabilitation.
- It increases metabolism which assists the body in burning more calories. Rebounding has also been found to enhance digestion, relaxation, sleep patterns, nerve impulses and muscle fiber.
- And, it’s fun!
When the weather is nice, it’s a great way to get some sunshine and exercise at the same time. During bad weather, try putting it in front of the television – be entertained and exercise all at once. Get bouncing!!
Studies show that exercise actually decreases the amount of pain for people with arthritis, but the effects aren’t immediate. It may take up to a couple of months to experience pain relief. There’s a fine line between doing too much and doing too little so working with a professional will help you avoid hurting yourself.