How to Keep Working Out When You Have Arthritis

senior man exercising on an exercise ball

Does joint pain have you dreading your next workout?

We’ve all heard the phrase “no pain, no gain,” but arthritis pain can slow down your fitness gains by limiting your ability and diminishing your desire for working out. Don’t be discouraged and don’t give up. Our joints are made to move, and the right kind of exercise can even help reduce your arthritis pain.

 

Can you work out with arthritis?

Is working out good for arthritis? You bet it is. Fitness experts agree that exercise can reduce joint pain and stiffness while increasing flexibility, muscle strength, cardiac fitness and endurance. In addition, proper exercise will help you reduce excess weight, which puts extra pressure on your joints.

If you’re suffering from arthritis, you should aim for 30 minutes of low-impact aerobic activity every day, strength training activity every other day, and range-of-motion exercises three to five times a week.

 

A few exercise ideas for people suffering from arthritis.

 

Aerobic exercises

Aerobic exercises are great for your overall fitness. They can help you control your weight and improve your cardiovascular health. And there are so many fun and easy ways to keep you working out, even if your arthritis pain flares, including walking, bicycling, swimming and elliptical machines.

 

Strengthening exercises

Strengthening exercises help you build strong muscles to support and protect your joints, which is particularly important if you have arthritis. Weight training is an example of a strengthening exercise that can help you maintain or increase your muscle strength. Remember to avoid exercising the same muscle groups two days in a row. Rest a day between your workouts, and take an extra day or two off if your joints are painful or swollen.

 

Range-of-motion exercises

These exercises make moving easier by reducing the stiffness in your joints and increasing flexibility. They’re easy to do and can be done almost anywhere. Examples include raising your arms over your head or rolling your shoulders forward and backward.

 

Tips to protect your joints when you’re working out.

Follow these three simple rules to begin an exercise regimen when you have arthritis:

1. Start slowly.

2. Don’t overdo it.

3. Talk with your physician.

If you haven’t been active for a while or you’re not used to working out, ease your joints into exercise and don’t push yourself too hard. You can overwork your muscles and worsen your joint pain.

Listen to your body and don’t exert more energy than your joints can handle. You can always slowly increase the time and intensity as you go.

 

How to relieve joint pain after a workout.

After your workout, you can do a couple of things to ensure your joints get the full benefit of your exercises.

 

Moist heat

Apply moist heat by using a warm wet towel or hot packs. You can also take a 15-to-20-minute hot bath or shower.

 

Cold compresses

Whether you use a bag of ice or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel, cold compresses are great at helping to stop pain and reduce swelling. Apply for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

 

Living at Lake Port Square is amazing, even if you’re living with arthritis.

If you’re looking for an independent living community that offers you easy fitness opportunities to reduce your joint pain, check out Lake Port Square in the Central Florida area. Whether you’re interested in swimming, water walking, water aerobics, indoor and outdoor walking, yoga, or cycling and elliptical machines, you’ll find the workouts you want in our indoor pool, walking paths, or our fitness center.