Arthritis occurs when the cartilage around joints is worn down over the years, through sport, excess weight and general wear and tear. It causes bones to rub and joints to become inflamed. Although the pain can interfere with day-to-day activities, it can be possible to exercise with arthritis. Provided they’re done in the right way, certain activities can actually alleviate the pain endured by sufferers of the condition.
Yoga can help ease arthritic pain. Through the practice of yoga, arthritis suffers can increase their range of flexibility whilst strengthening key joints. Certain poses can also be modified with the use of blocks, straps, or chairs to meet the ability and needs of the sufferer. There are many forms of yoga, but the one most suitable for arthritis sufferers is hatha yoga, as it’s one of the most gentle.
Tip: When a stretch feels painful, stop. Gentle stretching is enough to alleviate symptoms of arthritis.
Hitting the weights might not be the first activity that comes to mind when dealing with arthritis, but it holds some surprising benefits for sufferers. A considered use of free weights and resistance machines can help you to develop the muscles around the problem joints, easing the friction felt on the bones. Regular strength training can also increase lubrication in the joints, and decrease bone loss.
Tip: Arthritis sufferers should concentrate on doing high reps with low weight on any strength-training activity. This will prevent arthritic joints from becoming inflamed.
Zero-impact activities are ideal for people with arthritis, and swimming is a great option. Aside from having a relaxing effect on the body, it can strengthen different muscle groups at the same time, decreasing pressure on arthritic joints. It also offers sufferers of the condition a temporary respite from pain as the water supports the weight of swimmer’s body.
Tip: Different strokes rely on different muscles and joints. Know your own body and avoid strokes that are too painful.
Tennis can be played by people of all ages and abilities, and offers multiple benefits for arthritis sufferers. Playing tennis requires a range of movements –. The breadth of movement involved in tennis – from running around the court to holding and swinging the racket – uses all of the body’s joints and helps to increase both the flexibility and strength of supporting muscles.
Tip: Learn how to swing properly. This will ease any unnecessary pressure on your wrists, elbows, shoulders, and back.
As long as you’re mindful of your technique, running can also help to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. It increases the circulation of synovial fluid to your joints, supplying the supporting muscles with more oxygen and removing waste products that exacerbate inflammation. Shorter strides will decrease the pressure felt on joints in the legs and feet, as will a correct posture and suitable footwear.
Tip: Running is a high-impact sport. To reduce the impact felt on your joints, run on softer surfaces like country trails or treadmills and wear appropriate footwear and/or insoles.
Suffering from arthritis needn’t stop you from exercising. Certain activities are beneficial to the condition and can help alleviate pain suffered in the affected joints. The key to exercising with arthritis is to reduce the impact on joints as much as possible whilst developing the surrounding muscles as much as possible.
As well as maintaining the correct form and being mindful of your limits, exercising in the right footwear is essential when dealing with arthritis. Enertor’s specially-designed insoles ensure that joints do not absorb excessive pressure, and you can continue to enjoy physical activity with minimal discomfort. Read more about our insoles for arthritis here.