Studies have shown that exercise can help those with arthritis. Just a few of the health benefits include increased flexibility and mobility, and decreased joint pain and stiffness. Experts say that exercise, combined with weight loss, is one of the best ways to manage arthritis.
Unfortunately, exercising with arthritis can be very uncomfortable – and even painful. Certain movements aggravate affected joints, making it difficult for you to work out.
Fortunately, there are plenty of workouts you can do to help ease and manage your arthritis. Here are the top ten workouts for those who suffer from arthritis.
1. Water Workouts
The buoyancy of water relieves pressure on the joints and provides a low-impact workout. If you have significant joint pain, walk from one side of a lap pool to the other at a comfortable, brisk pace. You can also use a jogging belt, which suspends you above the pool floor, so you don't put pressure on your hips.
2. Tai Chi
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese system of exercises practiced with slow-moving, no-impact exercises that increase flexibility, strengthen muscles, improve your range of motion, and develops balance. Tai Chi also helps promote self-defense and mental calm. Because it's easy on your joints, it's often recommended for those with arthritis.
One of the best advantages about biking is that it can be done outdoors when the weather is nice and indoors in the winter on a stationary bike. Cycling is a low-impact aerobic exercise that strengthens your heart, hips, and knees. Start slowly and work your way into longer rides as your stamina develops. If your joints hurt, lower your speed and resistance.
4. Strength Training
Strength training and weight machines are for people of all ages. Whether you're using free weights, machines, or resistance bands, you'll strengthen your muscles, bones, lungs, and heart. It has also been shown to significantly improve muscle strength and function for people suffering from arthritis in the knee.
Walking is an all-around good workout that improves your aerobic fitness and strengthens bones. If you're new to walking for exercise, start with short workouts while working your way up to a 30-minute session. You'll build more endurance the longer you walk.
Even people with swollen, tender joints can benefit from yoga. For one, it promotes a healthy immune system while reducing joint inflammation. Plus, the gentle stretching of yoga maintains – and increases – mobility and movement.
Many forms of dance are ideal for relieving joint pain, improving mobility and balance, and increasing aerobic capacity. Ballroom dancing adds a social element and inspires joy, while belly dancing is becoming increasingly popular because of its undulating movements.
Zumba is another form of dance that has gained plenty of mainstream popularity in recent years. It provides an excellent calorie-burning workout putting undue stress on your joints while using all of your muscles.
9. Rowing Machines
Many people believe rowing machines are harder on joints because of the repetitive movements. However, these machines can actually help ease joint pain and improve flexibility. Start with the lowest resistance level to prevent over-straining your muscles and joints. Be sure you sit in an unpright position with a neutral spine and keep your stomach and back muscles pulled in as you move.
10. Elliptical training
While working out on an elliptical machine isn't for a novice, it's excellent for arthritis sufferers who are in good cardiovascular condition and are seeking a higher-intensity, no-impact form of exercise.
Arthritis pain can make working out hard – or even impossible. But, there are workout programs you can do with arthritis to build up your endurance, improve range of motion and even reduce joint pain. Give any of these workouts a try.
Looking for a place where you can test out all of these workouts? The Amarillo Town Club offers fitness training and state-of-the-art equipment for people of all ages. We even provide aquafitness classes free to all members!