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.
Entertaining kids and keeping up with their energy can be a challenge, especially when you have arthritis. But with planning, a positive attitude and some help from others, you can enjoy your time with them without paying for it later in joint pain and fatigue. Continue reading Keep Your Grandkids Busy Without the Fatigue of Arthritis
When you’re sad, stressed or your joints are aching, it might seem like digging into a pint (or half-gallon) of ice cream and not stopping till you reach the bottom will make you feel better. But that’s going to undermine your efforts to avoid inflammatory foods and weight gain. Breaking this kind of pattern may take physical or mental interventions – or both. We asked a registered dietitian and a psychologist how to break the cycle of emotional eating. Continue reading Emotional Eating Can Sabotage Your Arthritis Diet
Buying into some commonly held fitness beliefs may keep you from making the most of your workouts – or even lead to injury. Experts debunk six persistent myths. Continue reading 6 Fitness Myths Busted
Want to get more active? Use a pedometer. Results of a 21-week study reported in Arthritis Research and Care in 2017, found pedometers helped patients with rheumatoid arthritis walk about 1,500 more steps a day. Continue reading Add a Pedometer to Your Walking Routine
Think video games are just for kids and couch potatoes? Think again. Some games incorporate exercise, getting players up and moving. Called “exergaming,” this trend is on the rise in homes, gyms, physical therapy offices and rehabilitation centers.
Made popular by the Nintendo Wii, these interactive games use a handheld controller or sensors to track your body’s movement. That puts you in the game: You swing your arm to hit a baseball, jab in a boxing match or dance to earn points.
Mini-trampoline classes, also called “rebounding,” have gotten buzz lately. During class, each person jumps and runs in place, often to music, on his own trampoline. Fans say these fast-paced workouts torch calories and strengthen muscles with less impact than on a hard surface, says physical therapist Scott Euype, education director at Cleveland Clinic’s Rehabilitation & Sports Therapy.
However, you should be cautious before hopping on this bandwagon. If you jump too high or fast, the force may harm an already inflamed or damaged joint. Plus, “the landing surface is unstable, so you could turn an ankle or hurt your knee,” says Mary Ann Wilmarth, owner of Back2Back Physical Therapy in Andover, Massachusetts, and a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association. Check with your doctor before you try rebounding. (Avoid it if you’ve had joint replacement in your feet, ankles, knees or hips unless your doctor has given the OK.)
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.
Keep your body moving if you have arthritis. Exercise can reduce joint pain and stiffness as well as improve strength and balance.
But what type of exercise is best? An elliptical trainer is a good option. This minimal weight-bearing stationary exercise machine mimics walking with a gliding motion.
“The elliptical machine can be a beneficial form of exercise for people with knee and hip arthritis because it provides both strengthening and cardiovascular benefits while exerting less force on the joints,” says Maura Daly Iversen, DPT, MPH, a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association and Associate Dean of Clinical Education, Rehabilitation, and New Initiatives at Northeastern University in Boston.