If you suffer from arthritis, you may be under the impression that exercise could escalate your symptoms and pain. But there are many types of exercise for arthritis sufferers that can actually alleviate your pain and improve your quality of life.
Research has shown that exercise can help decrease joint pain and stiffness, along with improving your flexibility, mobility and even your mood! Regular exercise may in fact be one of the best ways to manage your arthritis pain. Still, arthritis is a common reason seniors give for limiting their physical activities. But inactivity can lead to even more problems, such as poor balance, weak muscles and stiff joints.
As always, before starting any new exercise program, check first with your physician and get approval to move forward. Think about your daily tasks that may become hindered by your arthritis pain. People with arthritis who exercise regularly will have less pain, improved sleep and more energy. The key is to start off slowly with a few low intensity exercises.
Helpful and Safe Exercises for Arthritis
Here are five great exercises for seniors with arthritis:
1) Swimming/Aquatic Exercise: This aerobic form of exercise will improve heart, lung and muscle function, and for those with arthritis, it’s one of the best ways to get benefits for weight control, sleep and mood. The buoyancy of water will help keep weight off joints and muscles and build strength.
2) Strength/Resistance Training: Resistance training is a good exercise for knee arthritis, and has the ability to improve muscle strength, and alleviate pain. As muscles become stronger, they provide better joint support and help reduce stress throughout your painful joints. At American Senior Communities, strength and resistance training is offered through the New Energy Wellness program.
3) Walking: Walking is another aerobic exercise, and it can help reinforce bone density because you are placing your full body weight on top of your bones and joints. Like swimming, walking also strengthens your heart, lungs and overall endurance. A daily walk can help alleviate symptoms of arthritis, and all you need to do is step outside and enjoy the fresh air!
4) Yoga/Tai Chi: Both yoga and tai chi are considered body awareness forms of exercise. This type of exercise can help improve posture, balance, coordination and relaxation, as well as joint position sense (proprioception). These exercises are low impact and can be done alone or in a social setting. Just be careful not to hyper-flex joints during yoga- it’s best to find an instructor who specializes in yoga for arthritis patients.
5) Golfing: Yes, playing golf can actually help with arthritis pain! The Arthritis Foundation even says that golfing enhances the strength and mobility of both your upper and lower extremities. Not only that, but the sport also improves your balance, coordination and range of motion. So don’t be afraid to get out there and hit the green!
Exercise is so important for seniors, and there are many safe ways to go about staying active as you age. Once exercise is built into your daily routine, you’ll find yourself feeling healthier and more alert- and you’ll be in less pain, too.