Many people have trouble with arthritis as they age. The jury is in on what helps- exercise is the most important. Walking has been known to help with the pain, but you have to slowly build your stamina.
There are different types of exercises that you can try out. Cross-training- doing different types of exercises is always best because your body benefits the most when you “change it up” at least every other day.
Here are a few examples:
Strengthening your muscles: Strengthening exercises help you build your muscles and keep your joints stable.
Here are the 2 types of strengthening exercises:
Isometrics- strengthens your muscles without moving your joints. You simply tighten a muscle while it is in a natural position. Pressing your palms together is an example.
Isotonics- this invloves moving the joints and are much like range-of- motion exercises. The difference is that you do them faster and you can add weights for resistance. Leg lifts are isotonic.
Daily activities- Every day you need to do different types of exercises. Some of them you do naturally when you pick up things like a suitcase (isotonic) and carry it ( isometric)
If you want to strengthen- swimming pool exercises also provide resistance because of the water.
Endurance exercises are the most challenging of all. This type of exercise can strengthen your cardiovascular system, and help with your lungs and heart.
These stamina exercises include fitness walking ( walking fast), water aerobics, swimming, and bicycling.
If you are trying to build your stamina, take it slow!
Work at a moderate pace at first, and don’t become breathless.
You should strive for about 20-30 minutes of stamina exercise a day for 3 days a week.
Other Tips: Before and After Exercise
If you have arthritis or you are a beginner to exercise, you may find that you are sore. Try hot and cold therapy to help.
Remember you can reduce pain and prevent muscle spasms if you use hot and cold therapy just before your exercise. Stretching your muscles also helps.
First heat for about 20 minutes and then cold treatments for 10-15 minutes.
Afterwards, cold therapy such as an ice pack is great, especially if there is some swelling. You should protect your skin from freezing with an extra layer of cloth. This is also important with heat, to prevent burns.
Whether you use heat or cold, follow these guidelines:
1. Do not use heat or cold on skin that is blistered or has sores
2. Do not use creams or gels before applying heat or cold
3. Always let your skin return to a normal temperature before reapplying either hot or cold
4. Move the joint around gently afterward to restore mobility.
Taken in part from: Carwood, F. ( 1995) Natural Medicines and Cures Your Doctor Never Tells You About. Peachtree City, GA. FC& A Publishing