Besides the usual treatment medication, a personalized exercise program can greatly help reduce arthritis-related pain and discomforts. The three main types of exercise that make up the program are range-of-motion (ROM), strengthening, and aerobic exercises. These exercises not only help relieve symptoms of arthritis but also protect the joints from additional damage. Other benefits of exercise as an arthritis treatment include:
- maintaining the strength and health of the bone and cartilage
- retaining the normal movement of the joint
- sustaining weight in order to lower pressure on joints and
- Improving stamina and cardiovascular fitness
Range-of-Motion / Flexibility Exercises
Stretching and Range-of-Motion exercises help to ease stiffness and improve the flexibility in affected joint; thus reducing injuries risk on the surrounding muscles. ROM activities are mostly seen in therapeutic exercises. Movement such as rolling your shoulders backward and forward or raising your arms are examples of the ROM activities. Some recreational programs like TaiChi and yoga combine both stretching movements and ROM in their practices. These exercises contribute to better posture and general functions
These exercises are more vigorous and are designed to strengthen muscles. As muscles gain strength, they offer greater joint support helping to reduce stress and loading in the sore or aching joint. Strong muscles will have a positive effect on reducing bone loss related to inactivity, some types of fiery arthritis and use of corticosteroids as medication.
The weight, or rather the intensity of resistance, should be sufficient enough to challenge the muscles without escalating the pain in the joints. Some forms of resistance include use of a hand-held elastic bands or weights, pulling or pushing against a resisting object, or just by a mere lift of limb against gravity. Also moving against water can provide resistance if done faster. By gradually increasing the amount of resistance, so is strength improved.
Also known as cardio-respiratory conditioning. These exercises entail the use of large body muscles in a rhythmic and repetitive manner. Aerobics are best known for improvement in the functioning of lungs, heart, and muscles. Some of the benefits arthritis patients gain from aerobics include weight control and overall health. Safe aerobics exercises include daily routines like walking, mowing the lawn, aquatic exercise, cycling or exercising on stationary equipment like treadmills. These activities should be undertaken at a moderate intensity level, allowing those experiencing more pain and fatigue to have shorter sessions within their own tolerance level. Usually, moderate intensity is the most effective physical exertion level for aerobics.Share