Exercise can help ease arthritis pain, but how much do you really know about the ins and outs of working out? Read these questions and answers and test your fitness IQ!
Q: How much aerobic exercise should you get per week?
A: 150 minutes.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises at least that much moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Research shows just 13 percent of men and 8 percent of women with arthritis meet that. But a recent study suggests that as little as 45 minutes may help people who have arthritis in their knees, hips, ankles or feet.
Q: Lifting weights helps support joints. True or false?
“Having strong muscles can take pressure off of the joint, which may help lessen arthritis pain,” says rheumatologist Rochelle Rosian, MD, at Cleveland Clinic.
Q: It’s OK to feel some pain while working out. True or false?
Mild pain or soreness is a normal part of working out, says Andrew McDonnell, a physical therapist at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Round Rock, Texas. However, moderate to severe pain in your joints is a sign that you should stop exercising and rest.
Q: How many times a week is recommended for strength training?
A: Experts recommend strength training at least twice a week, but you can do it more often.
“Your muscles need one or two days of recovery between workouts,” says McDonnell. Switch between muscle groups. For example, work your legs one day and your arms the next.
Q: People with arthritis should avoid high-intensity exercise. True or false?
A study published in Clinical Rheumatology found that high-intensity exercise improved function in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) without damaging their joints. The key is choosing an activity that doesn’t add pressure or cause pain in your affected joints.
Q: About how long should you warm up?
A: 5 to 10 minutes.
Warming up boosts circulation, which can reduce stiffness and help fend off injuries. Start every workout with light activity, such as marching in place.
Q: Is it better to stretch before or after your workout?
A: After your workout.
“Stretching cold muscles may cause you to pull or harm something,” says McDonnell. Work on flexibility after your warmup or workout.
Q: Exercise can give you more energy. True or false?
Exercising regularly improves sleep quality and reduces fatigue, according to a study of people with RA published in 2014 in The Journal of Rheumatology.
Author: SHARON LIAO
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