If your hip or knee arthritis makes you feel unsteady and worry that you’ll fall, your instinct probably is to avoid risks. You might not feel confident walking far or doing much physical activity. But to become steadier and reduce your risk of falling, you have to overcome those worries and be more active – safely.
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.
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.
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:
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.)