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Best exercises for arthritis sufferers

Man with arthritis

If you suffer from arthritis, or very stiff joints, exercise may be the last things you want do, however getting out into the fresh air and doing some low intensity, aerobic exercise can be extremely beneficial and help to prevent stiff joints.[1]

Low impact sports, such a yoga and Pilates, can help to build up your core muscles – the key muscles which support your joints; whilst helping to reduce joint inflammation. Opt for gentle movements and light stretches and build up slowly. The gentle stretching involved in each exercise can help you to maintain mobility and movement. If yoga seems like a good fit for you, try and avoid any hot (Hatha/Bikram) or power yoga, as this can end up putting excessive pressure on your joints. Yoga or Pilates can also help to strengthen your leg muscles that support your joints.

Aerobic exercises such as gentle walking, cycling and swimming are also great for those suffering from arthritis. Swimming is particularly beneficial, as the buoyancy of the water can help relieve any pressure on your joints while you exercise. This gives you that extra supportive barrier which will help cushion any inflamed joints. Cycling also acts in a similarly supportive manner as is helps you avoid the pounding of high-impact aerobic activities, such as running.

Why not hire or borrow a bike and head out in the great outdoors? Not only is cycling an excellent and effective way of staying fit, it makes sure your joints aren’t placed under too much pressure. Plus the fresh air is an added bonus!

However, you should be avoiding exercise for a while if you are experiencing a severe flare up or immensely stiff joints. Rest for a couple of days before doing any kind of physical activity. If you feel up for it, simply go for a short walk, although make sure not to push yourself too much if you are in pain. The best thing you can do is to listen to your body. A Chiropractor can help you determine what kind of exercise will be best for you – even during or immediately after a flair-up. Being fit and healthy is one thing, but remember that pain is your body’s way of telling you to stop, so always go at your own pace and don’t overdo it.

 

[1] https://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/living-with-arthritis/exercise-and-arthritis

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