Wrapping gifts and baking cookies can be a real challenge with arthritis pain and fatigue. We asked some experts for ways to make these time-honored holiday traditions easier and healthier.
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.
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.)