Exercise and Arthritis

Arthritis is a painful condition that affects 46 million people in the United States alone.  Once thought to be a disease that affected only seniors, it can affect anyone regardless of their age.  Arthritis is an inflammation of a joint resulting in damage to the joint structure.  Did you know there are over 100 different types of arthritis; the two most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

As a result of the inflammation and pain that most suffer from with arthritis, movement tends to be limited.  This may result in an increased loss of flexibility and overall joint movement.  But with proper coaching from a Personal Trainer, flexibility and joint range of motion can be improved. 

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, those who suffer from arthritis should do flexibility exercise one to two times daily, always using a pain-free range of motion.  During each exercise session, a progression from dynamic warm up/flexibility exercises of the affected joints to strength training exercises to aerobic exercises should be followed. 

If there is significant morning stiffness, a simple stretching routine should be followed daily upon waking.  For some, light yoga programs are very effective at loosening the body for the day ahead.  A good rule of thumb to follow for those who work at a desk all day is to actively stretch at different times of the day to prevent the joints from stiffening too much.  Even a short walk during the lunch break is a great way to limber up.

Unfortunately, those with arthritis suffer from an increase of pain during flare ups.  These can come on at any time and for any reason.  The best approach to exercise during a flare up is to keep activities as pain-free as possible.  For some, keeping up with daily stretches will be more than enough activity until things settle down.  If in doubt, following the advice of your Rheumatologist is the best course of action.

Weight training can be an integral part of a workout program for those with arthritis.  Choosing the right exercise to do can be a bit of a challenge at times, but with the help from your Rheumatologist and Personal Trainer there are plenty of modifications that can aid in your workouts.  If after a workout you notice an increase in joint pain, make a note of the exercises performed and modify them for the next session.  Only progress to more difficult exercises once there is no increase in joint pain after your workouts.

Those suffering from arthritis are encouraged to exercise and keep active.  It may be difficult at times, but by keeping on the move throughout the day and implementing an exercise program customized for you, your joints will move better and hopefully you will find some relief.


About Lisa

Lisa is a Certified Personal Trainer who is passionate about fitness and living an active lifestyle. She has a strong background in nutrition, having been a Chef for almost 15 years and applies this knowledge to helping her clients achieve their goals.
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