Few medical conditions affect the general population as much as arthritis. In fact, according to statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), up to one in four adults in the U.S. face this condition. That is over 54 million Americans.
With the coronavirus pandemic still causing many to stay away from the gym and workout studios, staying active can be a challenge for patients with arthritis. What workouts can you do while reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19? The answer lies in learning exercises that can be done at home or without the need of a gym. Empower yourself for health by learning the ten best at-home exercises for arthritis:
Low-impact aerobic exercise builds the cardiovascular system without causing damage or wear to the affected joints. One way to achieve this is to try following a televised or online dance workout program. There are a variety of options available according to your taste in music and fitness level. The combination of music and exercise lifts the spirits, which is also helpful for facing arthritic pain. Swaying, stretching and swiveling motions are therapeutic.
Submerging the body or stiffened joints into warm water increases body temperature, which in turn increases circulation. The buoyancy removes weight off of joints and adds resistance, which builds strength. A heated pool would be ideal, but even a jetted or standard tub gives the opportunity for flexing and relaxing affected muscles and joints.
If you are looking for a flexible option for both in and outdoors, consider the advantages of cycling. Cycling allows you to get a cardiovascular and muscular workout away from home while getting out of the house. Yet, you can achieve these same health benefits indoors using a stationary bike that can be ordered online. Start with increments of about 15 minutes each, extending the time as stamina improves.
Whether you have tried golf before or not, think about what it can do now to enhance your strength and mobility. You will receive an extensive workout of your arms, while stretching your spine, hips and legs. Improve your range of motion, coordination and balance. You may choose to simply hit golf balls in the backyard, or join a friend for a few rounds at a safe distance.
Hitting the jogging trails is a viable option for exercise, as long as those trails are made of soft, flat surfaces. A running track is a great place to start. When developing a jogging program, be sure to allow for adequate stretching and get shoes that are designed especially for minimum impact to hip, knee and ankle joints.
If you are facing the challenges of arthritis, pilates offers opportunities for concentrating on the body’s core: abdomen, obliques, lower back and thighs. The focus on range of motion and core strength makes pilates especially arthritis-friendly.
Strength and resistance training
You will be better prepared to manage your arthritis by strengthening your muscles, bones, lungs and heart through a routine of strength and resistance training. These exercises can be done with free weights and resistance bands, or by using items around the house such as weighted jugs, towels and stairs.
Look to ancient wisdom in overcoming the difficulties of your condition. Tai chi is a series of slow-moving poses that provide mental calm and clarity. These poses increase flexibility and improve range of motion. All you will need is a soft, sturdy area and a simple program to follow.
Don’t overlook the obvious when seeking to get adequate exercise. Walking reinforces bone density, strengthens the heart and lungs and improves overall endurance. Walking provides so many benefits that the Arthritis Foundation has even developed a specific guide to walking called Walk with Ease. Develop a routine that matches your ability. Increase distance and pace as your fitness improves.
Another ancient form of exercise that has multiple benefits is yoga. Yoga unites movement with breathing cycles, which eases stiffness and tension in the body. This classic art is worth considering. Just be careful to avoid certain poses that would cause affected areas to be hyperextended.
Even in this time of social distancing, you don’t have to feel alone in the management of your arthritis. As in any exercise program, be sure to talk to your health professional before beginning. Start slowly and modify the exercise if you experience pain. Just stay active and find a way to stay motivated. You will soon enjoy the benefits of focusing on your health.
Arthritis pain in Raleigh
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort from arthritis symptoms, the board-certified orthopaedic doctors and orthopaedic care teams at Cary Orthopaedics and Spine Center can help. Our team utilizes multiple non-invasive treatments to reduce pain and increase mobility in our patients. Contact us today to make an appointment at one of our locations in Cary, Holly Springs or Morrisville today.