Friday, May 13, 2011

5 Exercise Tips for Patients with Arthritis

       “Can you believe it, Doc? The reason I went to aerobics class is for me to lose weight and decrease my joint pain. And now, I injured my ankle from doing this. I feel so hopeless."

        I’ve heard this complaint from my patients a few times already.  Some people never run out problems,  huh?
       The typical patient who tells me this can be described as: a middle-aged woman, gifted, endowed, and abundant. She has cellulite deposits and “ruffles” around the waist. The common question people ask her is “Hi, Ma’am. When are you giving birth?”
       Ok, ok, not all of you like that description. I’m just kidding.
       But I want to congratulate these patients. They made a heroic attempt at exercising and ended up martyred along the way.

       Seriously, you may think that exercise and arthritis don’t go hand in hand. But that’s certainly not the case. Exercise is important for people with arthritis. Keeping your weight down and your muscles strong can help to delay surgery and improve your surgical result from joint-replacement surgery.

       Here are some exercises I recommend if you are suffering from early signs of osteoarthritis They are generally low-impact exercises and thus occurrence of injury is somewhat minimized.

1. Walking:

       This is my favorite recommendation. You can do this inside the mall, in the parks, inside your subdivision. Whenever you’re parked in a huge parking lot, try choosing the farthest spot available. No kidding. You also save yourself from the stress of competing with the other drivers who want the nearest parking spots! And why don’t you try walking with your loved one, hand in hand, eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder, bad breath to bad breath.  

2. Swimming or water exercise:

       Warm water swimming, is a way to perform normal activities without the impact of working out on land. In the water your body's buoyancy reduces stress on your joints while building strength and increasing range of motion. Water exercises can involve aerobics, walking, jogging or just about anything else. Even sports can be played in the water (e.g. water polo) for added excitement. I recently went to a hot spring in Pansol, Laguna and found the warm water just right for arthritis.

3. Cycling:

       Cycling is also one of my favorite recommendations, because not only is this a low-impact way to exercise, but the cyclic motion of cycling is stimulating for the cartilage within a joint. Cycling gives a good muscular and cardiovascular workout and loosens up stiff joints by circulating the remaining lubricants. It’s like warming up a cold vehicle. Start off with stationary cycling, and move outdoors as you get stronger.

4. Light to moderate weight-lifting:

       Training with weights can help strengthen muscles, and is also an excellent way to stimulate bone health. It must be done safely, with proper instruction. Just about anyone can learn a few good strength-training exercises. Even with a few dumbbells and some basic knowledge, a weight workout can be perfect for arthritis.

5.Low-impact dancing while doing house chores.

       Not the hip-hop or rap music to go. Mild dancing can be done as tolerated, while letting you finish your house chores. The important thing is you have to keep moving your joints.
       So now, get out and exercise! Exercise controls not only your weight but also your blood pressure, and other vital signs. It reduces joint pain and stiffness, builds strong muscle around the joints, and increases flexibility and endurance. It also helps promote overall health and fitness by giving you more energy, helping you sleep better, decreasing depression, and improved sense of well-being.

       As you can see, there are many options for exercise, even for those with joint pain from arthritis. Again, exercise has been shown to be useful for patients with arthritis both before and after joint-replacement surgery. So now you have no excuses ... get out and get physical!

       Can you think of other ways you can include exercise in the daily routines of your life?


ernesto olaguer said...

i like this. i do some of them regularly.

ernie olaguer

Doc Ralds said...

That's good, sir. Keep living a healthy and active lifestyle.

Thanks for your comment.

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