Exercising in a pool is one of the best things you can do to aid your mobility and boost your fitness.
Winter weather is right around the corner, and while it’s tempting to huddle up on the sofa on cold days, arthritis knows no season. A lack of activity can cause your joints to become stiff, so move it or lose it. Exercise eases arthritis pain, increases strength and flexibility, and boosts your energy. Studies show that people with arthritis and related diseases – including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia – benefit from regular exercise. Exercise lessens pain and improves your overall quality of life.
Our Jingle Bell Run events are right around the corner, and whether you’re prepping to participate in our 5K, or exercising in your neighborhood, taking a few simple precautions can help control your arthritis pain and keep you active and outdoors throughout the colder months.
Standing up and walking around for just two minutes every hour may help you live longer. That’s good news as evidence continues to mount that prolonged sitting shortens longevity and further increases the risk for several chronic conditions that commonly occur with arthritis, including diabetes, kidney problems, obesity and heart disease.
Researchers looked at data from devices that gauge activity levels worn daily for up to a week by 3,626 people in a national health survey. They measured how much time each day participants spent in sedentary and in various low-intensity activities (such as standing) and light-intensity activities (such as walking casually) and moderate to vigorous exercise (such as brisk walking or lifting weights).
Continue reading Two Minutes of Activity an Hour To Live Longer
Study after study has touted the benefits of walking for arthritis. But has your walking routine started to feel a bit … routine? You’ve tried taking different routes and walking with a friend, but it still feels a little ho-hum. Or maybe your doctor has suggested that you start a walking program. Try these creative twists to keep walking interesting. As always, if you’ve never exercised before, talk to your doctor before starting any fitness program.
Continue reading Beat Boredom With Two Walking Routines for Arthritis
Treadmills seem simple, but they can be hazardous, particularly for people with joint or balance issues. Trying to catch yourself when you lose your balance can result in muscle strains or injury in almost any joint, says physical therapist Mary Ann Wilmarth, CEO of Back2Back Physical Therapy in Andover, Mass.
“Injuries can go all the way up the kinetic chain when people slip and try to recover by catching themselves. This can mean foot injuries, strained or sprained ankles, shoulders and wrists – as well as the back and hips if you’re twisting as you lose balance,” she says.
Continue reading 10 Tips for Using the Treadmill Safely with Arthritis
We asked rheumatologists what they most wish their patients would do to improve their arthritis health. Here’s what they said.
- Be more open with your doctor.
In pain? More tired than usual? Tell your doctor. “Many individuals with arthritis feel that they’re ‘complaining’ or taking up too much of their doctor’s time. But more information helps a physician tailor treatment, leading to better health outcomes,” says M. Elaine Husni, MD, director of the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Treatment Center at the Cleveland Clinic.
Just because the trees are bare and there’s a chill in the air doesn’t mean you have to forgo those daily walks outside for the dreaded treadmill. Anything but! In fact, outdoor walking during winter may have surprising benefits for people with arthritis. In addition to the decreased pain and disability you get from walking, stepping out in winter air can also:
Keep bones strong
Like bears, people tend to hibernate during the winter and, as a result, get too little sunlight, explains Lynn Millar, PhD, chair and professor of physical therapy at Winston-Salem State University in N.C. That’s too bad for bones. Sun exposure triggers vitamin D production in the skin, and bones need the “sunshine vitamin” to make the body absorb bone-strengthening calcium properly. Not getting outside during winter months slows down production and decreases the body’s store of vitamin D.
In a perfect world, pain wouldn’t exist, our weight would be optimal and we’d enjoy daily exercise and have energy to spare. But as arthritis pain and stiffness invade joints, the desire to exercise and the energy for much of anything can wane.
The world is not perfect, but there are ways to manage weight, minimize pain and improve energy levels. By changing habits, anyone can make small changes that will have a big impact over time.
Not sure where to start? We asked experts to help compile this top 10 list of habits to adopt.
Yes, you’ll get stronger and more toned – but those aren’t the only reasons to strength train. Scientists continue to discover benefits of strength training or resistance training. It can be done using light weights, elastic bands or even your own body weight (think wall push-ups, mini squats and calf raises). Here are four more good reasons to start.
- It reduces pain. A small study, published in the July 2012 International Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that men with rheumatoid arthritis affecting their knees had a 23 percent reduction in pain intensity after following a three-day-a-week strength-training program for eight weeks. Other studies show strength training relieves the pain of osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, too.