Category Archives: Exercise

goal setting workouts

Use Goal Setting to Motivate Your Arthritis Workout

You might exercise to improve function, gain strength or slim down. Whatever your reason, “setting a goal can give you focus, confidence and motivation,” says Hannah J. Bennett, a physical therapist with Baylor Scott & White Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in Round Rock, Texas.

But how can you tell if your workouts are working? The key is making realistic and specific milestones. “Check your progress regularly,” says Bennett. Seeing results can provide motivation – or signal that it’s time to switch things up. Here are four common fitness goals and how to track them.

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arthritis friendly bike riding

Biking is Great For Your Joints

Outdoor or indoor, cycling is one of the most effective workouts for people with arthritis. “The continuous motion that’s part of cycling is very helpful for arthritic joints,” says Joseph Garry, MD, an associate professor in the division of sports medicine at the University of Minnesota.

“The more the joint moves through its full range of motion, the more synovial fluid is produced. This lubricates the joint so you move more easily the rest of the day.” And it’s effective whether you break a sweat or take it easy.

When good weather is calling, then it’s a great time to get started for the first time or back to your regular routine.  If you don’t exercise regularly, start with 10 minutes of cycling at a low resistance, and gradually increase resistance, time and frequency, says Dr. Garry. Your goal should be 20 to 30 minutes of cycling a day.

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arthritis hip and knee pain

Don’t Let Knee or Hip Pain Make You Unsteady

Research shows that people with knee pain have a 25% greater risk of falling than people without pain. It’s also been found that one in three older adults falls each year.  Falls can result in severe injuries, such as hip fractures.

To reduce your risk of falling, improve your balance with exercises that build strength and flexibility, says rheumatologist Rob Keenan, MD, at Duke Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. Improving your response time – that is, how quickly you react to stop yourself from falling – also can help, explains Alexander Aruin, PhD, a professor of physical therapy and bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Here are four ways to improve your balance and response time.

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arthritis hula hooping

Mix Up Your Arthritis Workout With Hula Hooping

The popular childhood pastime hula hooping is back as a hot fitness trend. The workouts use heavier hoops – weighing one to five pounds – in fun routines set to music, says Joanne Wu, MD, a physical rehabilitation physician at Unity Spine Center in Rochester, New York, and owner of a wellness consulting company.

Although people with balance disorders shouldn’t try hula-hooping, the exercise is a gentle way to strengthen the core. In fact, Dr. Wu recommends it for her spine patients. “Hooping itself is a low-impact exercise that’s gentle on the joints,” says Dr. Wu. “It builds balance and strength, especially in the core and legs.”

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fusion workouts for arthritis

Go Hybrid for Your Arthritis Workout

Yogalates. Gyrotonics. Piloxing. They may be hard to pronounce, but fusion workouts – which combine moves from two or more disciplines, such as yoga and Pilates (yogalates) or water aerobics and tai chi (ai chi) – are increasingly popular.

“People love fusion fitness because it’s challenging and novel,” says Jessica Matthews, group fitness expert and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in San Diego and a fitness trainer who has trained people with arthritis.

But is it safe and worth your time? Fusion workouts can introduce you to other forms of exercise. Plus, “if you enjoy a particular type of exercise but are bored with your current routine, it’s a great way to break through the monotony,” says Matthews.

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Strength Training for People With Arthritis

“Building muscle supports and protects joints, which can increase mobility and reduce stiffness and soreness,” says Stanley Wainapel, MD, at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. Research in The Journal of Rheumatology found that people with knee arthritis experienced 42% less pain and 44% more physical function after four months of strength training. Get started with one of these, watch videos and use Your Exercise Solution to learn about exercise modifications specific to your needs.

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impact exercise arthritis

Impact Exercises Could Possibly Help Arthritis

When it hurts to get out of a chair, running and jumping are probably the last things you would consider doing. In fact, these high-impact movements are often considered risky for arthritic joints; they apply a jolt of force that may lead to pain. But recent research reveals that some impact in some cases may actually be good for joints.

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working out with arthritis city

Get Your Arthritis Workout In While Traveling

Finding the energy and time to work out is tough enough when you’re not traveling, so it’s no surprise that exercise can go off the rails when you’re on the road. With some planning, you can fit it into any trip, says Brian Housle, an exercise physiologist and fitness director at Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina. Here’s how.

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