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.
Continue reading Doctor-Recommended Arthritis Health Tips
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.
Continue reading The Benefits of Winter Walking for Arthritis
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.
Continue reading 10 Healthy Habits For Better Arthritis Management
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.
Continue reading Strength Training is Essential for Arthritis
If you’re looking for a fun way to work out with big benefits, move to the music! In a study published in the 2014 issue of Geriatric Nursing, older adults who took a 45-minute dance therapy class twice a week reported less knee and hip pain and were able to walk faster after three months. “This may help to prevent falls and keep people functional and independent,” says study author Jean Krampe, PhD, RN, CPHQ, assistant professor of nursing at Saint Louis University.
Continue reading Dance Away Joint Pain
Do people fare better after knee surgery with at-home exercise or clinic-based physical therapy (PT)? That is the question posed in a 2014 Australian study in the journal Arthritis Care & Research. Researchers found that those patients who had total knee replacement and followed a structured, at-home exercise program did no worse – in terms of pain and range of motion – than those who participated in a standard clinic-based physical therapy program.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 700,000 knee replacement surgeries, also called total knee arthroplasty, are done every year. That number is expected to rise as the population ages and grows heavier.
Continue reading At-Home Exercises vs. Physical Therapy After Joint Surgery
Rise and shine – and get moving for the good of your joints! If you work out before your day distracts you, your chances of exercising regularly go way up, and you know that’s important to keep your arthritis pain at bay. What’s more, studies show that working out in the morning can boost mental acuity and burn up to three times more fat than exercising at other times of the day.
There’s just one catch: Morning is often the most hectic time of the day. Try these tips to fit your fitness into your mornings:
Continue reading Morning Workout for Arthritis
Physical activity helps people with arthritis reduce pain and increase range of motion. But how does movement work in your body to help your joints?
Synovial fluid lubricates the joint.
The joint is surrounded by soft tissue called the synovial membrane, which produces a fluid that acts like oil in an engine, allowing your bones to move past one another more smoothly. Physical activity encourages circulation of the fluid, says Susan Sterling, an instructor at the Cooper Institute, a preventive medicine research and education nonprofit in Dallas.
Continue reading How Exercise Helps Your Joints
You know that physical activity is an important part of your arthritis treatment plan. You want to take advantage of the good weather to get out and walk, but you just can’t seem to get moving. When it comes to health and fitness, your state of mind, or emotional conditioning, is as important as your physical conditioning. Yet aside from pro athletes, few people focus on the mental aspects of physical fitness, whether it’s overcoming anxiety related to arthritis pain or simply getting motivated to lace up your sneakers each day. Changing your mind-set can help you live a more active life and get your arthritis under control. So, before you exercise, get your mind ready.
Continue reading Psyching Yourself Up To Exercise For Arthritis
Remember what it was like to walk without aches? Get that sensation again by taking your workout to the water. “Exercising in a pool provides nearly instant relief from pain and stiffness,” says Mary Sanders, PhD, a clinical exercise physiologist at the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Reno. “Even if you don’t feel comfortable walking on land, the buoyancy of water gives you freedom of movement while providing support.” Slip on your swimsuit and try these aquatic workout tips from Sanders. (Don’t forget to ask your doctor about necessary precautions whenever starting a new exercise.)
Continue reading Hit the Pool to Relieve Joint Pain