Being diagnosed with arthritis isn’t something the doctor or the patient is ever happy with. It hinders everyday activities, and for those who are fitness enthusiasts, it will compromise their workouts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2013-2015, an estimated 54.4 million US adults had been told by doctors that they had some form of arthritis.
With that said, I am pleased to inform you that with some modifications, you can regain flexibility in the joints that are suffering from arthritis and improve your tolerance to exercise and daily movements.
Below you will find the best moves that fight against arthritis that have been provided and viewed by the best doctors and personal trainers in the field of arthritis.
Walking: William R. Sukala, MS, CSCS, explained in an interview with Weightwatchers that losing weight goes hand-in-hand with reducing the pain and regaining the flexibility of your joints that are suffering from arthritis. Eric Robertson, who is a Physical Therapist in Denver, agrees with Sukala; he told WebMD in an interview that “Cartilage is like a sponge and it gets nutrients from the compression and decompression of your body weight as you walk.”
Chair Leg Raises: Lesley Hlad, a doctor of physical therapy in the arthritis rehabilitation service at Duke University’s Center for Living in Durham, said in an interview with Health.com that the chair leg raises helps you control your range of motion with your legs and less with your arms.
Pilates: Tresa Sauer, a personal trainer at the YWCA of Minneapolis, was kindly able to explain to Health.com that doing Pilates is a great way to stabilize and strengthen your joints. She suggests that people suffering from arthritis should do the shoulder bridge exercise.
Bicep Curls: I know what you’re thinking: if you have aching joints in your arms how are you supposed to lift weights? Well this exercise will be done with light hand weights or a tensor band, explains Danielle Anderson, a personal and adaptive trainer at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington. She told Health.com that building up your endurance will help strengthen your joints and build muscle which will help with daily activities.
Zumba Fitness: Most people wouldn’t think twice about doing Zumba if they’re suffering from arthritis. But exercise physiologist Caryn Locke of Caryn’s Studio in Waite Park, tells Health.com that Zumba not only burns calories but does it without jarring your joints. She adds that Zumba is mostly about movement and fluidity.
Qi Gong: Sometimes the best exercise is the one that is outside of your comfort zone. Tess Franklin, an exercise physiologist at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Ill, teaches Chinese exercises. Franklin said to Health.com that this exercise is more about strengthening your core muscles in the abdomen area by trying to maintain posture and balance.
Elliptical Machine: Personally, this exercise has done wonders for me. I currently have arthritis in my knee, and I use this machine each time I go to the gym. I start slowly and work my way up. My endurance has increased and it also provides secondary strength to my arms.
Gardening: I know what you’re thinking ‘gardening is not an exercise.’ On the contrary; gardening is an incredible exercise that also has hidden benefits that you may not have been aware of. Manu Mathews, MD, a pain expert at the Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio, explains to Health.com that exercise can help boost endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals that can help ease depression. If you were unaware, depression has been linked to RA (Rheumatoid arthritis).
Wall Squat: William Oswald, DPT, a physical therapist and clinical instructor of rehabilitation medicine at NYU Langone Health, mentioned in an interview with WebMD that strong muscles will support and strengthen your joints. He adds that strengthening the lower body can take some pressure off the hip and knee joints.
Knee to Chest: Oswald also explained to WebMD that doing range-of-motion exercises can help with stiffness and improve flexibility. For the hip, he suggests doing the ‘knee to chest’ exercise.
Exercises to Avoid: Oswald also added that for those who are suffering from arthritis, they should avoid high-impact exercises to start. For example: do not jump on a treadmill and start running at full speed, you need to ease your muscles and joints into it. He adds that the impact could stimulate the cells that are repairing the cartilage.
So these are just some of the best moves that fight against arthritis. I would suggest that you consult your doctor or a personal trainer before you put a workout routine together, just to be on the safe side.