Yes! You can exercise with arthritis.
One in 5 people over the age of 18 are suffering with arthritis, which amounts to about 50 million adults who have been diagnosed with arthritis. In the United States arthritis is the leading cause of disability. A third of people within working ages who have arthritis have limited ability to work, missing 172 million sick days a year due to arthritis. One of the most important strategies for someone with arthritis is to maintain an exercise program to help improve function and strength. However, people with arthritis are statistically less likely than average to actually participate in an aerobic activity. Here are our tips on how to successfully exercise with arthritis.
Discuss With A Physician
There are some inflammatory arthritis conditions that could worsen with intense exercise, so it’s important you get the parameters from your physician before beginning any exercise program. Here is something to note- those conditions may not be good with intense exercise, but may be fine with moderate exercise. Many people who have arthritis can successfully participate in sporting events or partake in aerobic activity, so check first to make sure you are safe to proceed!
Don’t push yourself too hard too quickly. It is important to know your limits and stick to them. If you start off too strong and have a flare up of pain, you will be more likely to not stick to an exercise program in the long run. The stretches and exercises provided to you by your physician or physical therapist are great places to start. They are more therapeutic and will help to increase muscle strength and flexibility.
Establish A Routine
Find a time in the day that is best for you and try to stick to it. For some people their schedules are so busy that the best time each day differs on a daily basis, and that’s OK. It’s just important to put exercise into your routine.
Find The Best Location
It’s best to find a gym close to you that is convenient. On those days when you are feeling down and don’t have the energy to work out, a long commute to a gym is only going to deter you from going at all. For some people, getting out and walking around the block or finding an exercise class nearby is what works. Others find that swimming is the best option for their symptoms because the water takes weight off the joints. Find what works for you.
Find A Friend
Finding someone who is willing to be part of your program is great. They can help you stay motivated and also be the push you need to get out the door some days. Group classes can offer a similar boost since you are working with other people who have similar goals. Some people may consider finding a personal trainer who can keep them motivated and provide them with customized exercises for their personal situation.