Want to make the most of your workout? Fuel up with the right foods. “What you eat and drink can affect how you feel and how quickly you recover,” says Sonya Angelone, a San Francisco–based registered dietitian who works with athletes. Here’s her advice on what to have before, during and after exercise. Continue reading Best Foods to Eat Before, During and After Your Exercise Routine
While stretching is an important part of any workout, fitness studios known as stretching gyms make it the focus. Stretching instructors help lengthen and loosen muscles, either working one-on-one with clients and physically adding gentle pressure to deepen stretches, or by guiding a class through a series of stretches with props, such as foam rollers and bands.
“There’s no question that stretching benefits people with arthritis,” says Cory Feger, a physical therapist in Louisville, Kentucky. “It improves range of motion, lubricates joints and increases blood flow to muscles.” But are these new gyms and classes safe for people with arthritis? While they can be useful, Feger recommends proceeding with caution. Here’s how:
- ASK INSTRUCTORS ABOUT THEIR QUALIFICATIONS. What’s their background and experience working with people who have arthritis? Many instructors are personal trainers, massage therapists or yoga instructors but may not have experience with arthritis or chronic pain patients.
- ALWAYS WARM UP FIRST. This allows deeper stretches for a longer period of time and decreases the risk of injury. Get moving with light exercise, such as walking. Or do dynamic stretches, such as leg swings and arm circles, which prepare your body for specific movements.
- GO AT YOUR OWN PACE. Don’t try to keep up with everyone else in a class. “You don’t want to overdo it,” says Julie Jasontek, a physical therapist and supervisor of rehabilitation services at Mercy Health in Cincinnati. This may lead to an injury, such as a strained muscle.
- AVOID BOUNCING. To lengthen muscle fibers and increase flexibility, hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, then release and repeat. These are called static stretches.
- DO STATIC STRETCHES AFTER WORKING OUT. After exercise, muscles are warmed up. Stretching also boosts circulation. As part of a cooldown, it also lowers your heart rate, which may help aid recovery.
- DON’T PUSH TOO HARD. Mild discomfort is normal, but stop if you feel a sharp or intense pain.
- MAKE IT A REGULAR HABIT. To increase flexibility, stretch at least five times a week.
Doctors should routinely talk to all arthritis patients about the importance of physical activity and exercise, according to new recommendations from the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR). The recommendations, which received near-unanimous approval from an international team of experts, were published in July in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
In EULAR’s broad definition, physical activity includes exercise, sports, physical labor and ordinary chores like washing the car or gardening. According to the task force, physical activity is safe and effective for people with every type of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), spondyloarthritis (SpA), and hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA) and should be a key part of standard patient care.
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.
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