“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.
They’re easier to use than free weights, and their pulley system helps modulate resistance, which can protect against injury, says Ethel Frese, an associate professor of physical therapy at Saint Louis University in Missouri. The downside: Machines are generally available only at fitness centers.
Dumbbells can be used for lots of strength-training exercises. “Velcro weights are an excellent option for people with grip issues, because they fasten around an arm or leg,” says Frese. Learn proper form from a physical therapist or personal trainer to prevent injury.
Attach this elastic band to a fixed point, like a door handle, or step on it to provide strength-building resistance as you do certain movements, such as curls or squats. They’re available in a variety of lengths and strengths; their colors typically indicate resistance levels.
Exercises such as pushups and lunges use your own weight to strengthen muscles. “They incorporate moves that you do in everyday life, like getting up from a chair, so they’re functional,” says Frese. Plus, you can do them without equipment.
Isometrics work muscles without moving the joint; for example, pressing your palms together or contracting your abs. They are good for people with severe arthritis or who are experiencing a flare.
Author: SHARON LIAO
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