Exercise and Arthritis
Finding the time and motivation for exercise is difficult enough without arthritis, and with arthritis, it may seem downright impossible. However, the truth is that for people living with arthritis, not exercising can cause further damage to the body. Failure to exercise weakens muscles, causing strain on the already overtaxed joints, thus causing increased pain. Regular, moderate physical activity will not only contribute to overall better health, but will also increase muscle tone, condition the heart and lungs, and improve flexibility. Of course, people with arthritis shouldn't start any sort of exercise program without first consulting their doctors. Once you have your physician's approval, they will probably recommend a program with the following components:
These exercises will allow you to maintain, and even improve, your body's range of motion. This is especially important for the parts of your body that have been affected by arthritis. Your doctor may recommend that you do both general and joint-specific stretching exercises so that you remain flexible, which will allow you to prevent potential injury from joint overexertion or falls.
High-impact cardiovascular activities such as running should, naturally, be avoided, but low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, and stationary cycling are good alternatives for people with arthritis. This type of exercise allows you to condition your heart and lungs, as well as up your physical stamina, all of which are important factors to improved general health. Make sure to start off with short, five minute stints, eventually building to 30 minutes of exercise a day, three to four times a week.
3. Weight training
You shouldn't be doing any heavy lifting if you have arthritis, but it's still important for you to keep your muscles toned so that they can support your joints. Depending on the type and severity of your arthritis, you may be able to do strength-building exercises that either use your body weight (such as chin-ups or leg lifts) or light free weights (such as dumbbells or weighted balls). Because this type of exercise holds the highest risk of strain, you might want to consider scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist or a fitness trainer, so that you can be sure that you're moving your body in a manner that is safe and beneficial to your overall health.
Source: "Exercising with osteoarthritis - How to exercise if you have osteoarthritis","