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  • Emily-Haf

Arthritis and Exercise: Finding the Balance for Joint Health

When it comes to arthritis, exercise might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, incorporating regular physical activity into your routine can be immensely beneficial for managing arthritis symptoms and improving joint health. In this blog, we will explore the importance of exercise in arthritis management, discuss the types of exercises that are safe and effective, and provide practical tips for finding the right balance between activity and rest.

The Benefits of Exercise for Arthritis

Exercise offers a multitude of benefits for individuals with arthritis. It helps to:

  1. Reduce Joint Stiffness: Regular movement and exercise help to alleviate stiffness in the joints, promoting flexibility and ease of movement.

  2. Strengthen Muscles: Strengthening the muscles around the affected joints provides added support, reducing stress on the joints themselves.

  3. Improve Range of Motion: Engaging in exercises that focus on joint mobility helps to maintain and improve range of motion, making daily activities easier and more comfortable.

  4. Control Weight: Regular exercise aids in weight management, reducing the load on the joints and minimising pain and discomfort.

Safe and Effective Exercises for Arthritis

It's important to choose exercises that are safe and gentle on the joints. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises: Activities such as walking, swimming, and cycling provide cardiovascular benefits without placing excessive stress on the joints.

  2. Strength Training: Incorporating resistance exercises using weights or resistance bands helps to build muscle strength and stability around the joints.

  3. Range-of-Motion Exercises: Gentle stretching exercises and activities like yoga or tai chi improve joint flexibility and mobility.

  4. Water-Based Exercises: Water aerobics or swimming offer buoyancy and resistance, providing a low-impact environment for exercise.

Finding the Right Balance

While exercise is beneficial, it's essential to strike a balance to avoid overexertion or exacerbation of symptoms. Consider these tips:

  1. Start Slowly: Begin with shorter durations and low-intensity exercises, gradually increasing as your fitness level improves.

  2. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body responds to exercise. If you experience increased pain or swelling, modify the intensity or type of activity.

  3. Warm Up and Cool Down: Prior to exercise, warm up with gentle movements and stretches. Afterward, cool down and stretch to promote recovery and reduce post-exercise stiffness.

  4. Seek Professional Guidance: Consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist who can provide personalised guidance on exercise techniques and modifications tailored to your specific needs.

Exercise is a valuable tool for managing arthritis and improving joint health. By incorporating safe and effective exercises into your routine, you can reduce stiffness, strengthen muscles, and improve your overall quality of life. Remember to find the right balance, starting slowly and gradually increasing intensity, while listening to your body's signals. With regular exercise and appropriate modifications, you can empower yourself to take control of your arthritis and live a more active and fulfilling life.

Find out more about MSK and the services we offer on our website.

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