Exercising with arthritis

Exercising with arthritis

Did you know that exercise is an integral part of arthritis management? Naturopath Kate Ferguson has a look at arthritis-friendly exercises to help keep joint pain and inflammation at bay while keeping you fit, active and well.

Regular exercise helps to decrease joint pain and stiffness and increases flexibility and strength. It will also help you to maintain a healthy waistline, which further decreases stress on the joints. While there are certain types of exercise that you should avoid, such as high impact activities like running, there are a number of activities that you can enjoy to stay fit and healthy without aggravating the joints. These exercises may help to provide relief from the painful symptoms of arthritis.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a gentle form of exercise that involves a series of movements to improve the flow of energy through the body while lightly exercising the muscles and joints. A type of martial art, Tai Chi may help to improve joint mobility and increase muscle strength and improve posture.

Swimming

Swimming is a great way to stay in shape and relieve painful arthritic joints. Swimming provides total body conditioning, is an aerobic form of exercise and is great for cardiovascular health. Swimming will help to improve muscle strength, which helps in providing joint stability, and because it is non-impact, it can do all this with no added stress to the joints.

Pilates

Developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s, Pilates is a system of exercise that is designed to stretch, strengthen and balance the body. It’s a great form of exercise for general fitness as well as injury rehabilitation. Pilates helps to improve core strength and posture and may be of benefit for those with arthritis as it improves joint stability, is low impact and improves muscle strength.

If you’re embarking on any new exercise regime it is important to consult with your healthcare professional before you get started. Always exercise within your limits and stop if you experience any pain. It is the nature of arthritis to experience periods when the symptoms may ‘flare up’ and during these times it is advisable to rest.

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