Traditional wisdom suggests that when your body hurts, you should rest. But when it comes to arthritis, research shows that physical activity can actually help ease pain, as well as stiffness and swelling in the joints. Choosing the right kinds of activities, however, is important. Here are five of the best exercises to reduce arthritis pain.
1. Water Activities
Swimming and aqua aerobics are great examples of water-based activities that can help reduce arthritis pain. The warm water makes moving easy and allows you to focus on range of motion in a slow, controlled and safe manner. The resistance that the water provides is also great for building muscle .
2. Tai Chi
Tai chi involves changing posture through a series of slow and controlled movements. This gentle exercise places very little stress on major joints like knees and ankles, and essentially makes movement easier by improving synovial fluid absorption in joint cartilage—effectively “lubricating” joints. The regular practice of tai chi has been linked to decreases in fatigue and joint pain as well as improved balance.
Yoga is an ideal activity for arthritis sufferers , particularly because it helps improve both physical and psychological symptoms of the condition. In fact, regularly practicing yoga has been shown to reduce arthritis pain, improve joint flexibility and decrease stress and tension . Worried you don’t have the flexibility required? Don’t be. Many yoga poses can be modified to make them accessible to beginners regardless of age or ability.
Walking is a superb way to stay active without putting a strain on your joints. Once you’re comfortable walking at your own pace, challenge yourself to walk farther , faster or uphill. Just keep in mind that introducing these greater degrees of difficulty will place added stress on your joints, so implement changes gradually. One of the best things about walking? If you need alone time, it’s a great opportunity to clear your mind. Alternatively, you can introduce a social aspect by inviting a walking buddy to join you !
Many high-intensity activities are hard on your joints, but it’s still important for people with arthritis pain to get their hearts pumping each week. Cycling is a fantastic cardiovascular exercise because it can be done at a high intensity without placing any added pressure on your joints.
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