Whether you suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, you may find that the associated pain is an obstacle that often prevents you from exercising or participating in activities you enjoy.
However, although it might seem counterintuitive, physical activity happens to be one of the most effective treatments for alleviating arthritis-related pain.
According to ACE fitness expert Beth Shepard, it’s been shown that exercise has the ability to lessen arthritis joint pain and stiffness, as well as strengthen the muscles and tissue around the affected joints, which ultimately helps to improve overall quality of life.
The key, Shepard says, is to stick with low-impact activities that promote mobility and help to build strength.
Experts at The Arthritis Foundation agree: joint-friendly exercises that fit this description can help promote flexibility and pain relief and can possibly prevent pain from starting, too.
Here are just a few of the best exercises and activities, suggested by both The Arthritis Foundation and fitness experts alike, that you should consider as part of your prescription for relieving arthritis pain.
Note: Always consult your doctor before starting any new fitness program.
Working out in the water is one of the best low-impact options when it comes to incorporating aerobic exercise in your routine. Shepard suggests water walking, aqua aerobic classes and even lap swimming.
Yes, resistance activities like lifting weights, working with resistance bands and even some bodyweight exercises are recommended for arthritis relief. “Toning muscles so they are better able to support your body postures will decrease the forces on your joints,” says Joey Gochnour, an exercise physiologist, personal trainer and registered dietitian based in Austin, Texas. Plus, it also builds bone strength. However, because arthritis-related pain is localized and different between individuals it’s important to keep in mind that the exercises you should focus on most will depend on which joints are most affected by pain. For this reason, it’s advised that you work with an experienced personal trainer or physical therapist to achieve the best results.