The Best Exercises to Relieve Arthritis Pain
Suffer from stiff, swollen joints as a result of arthritis? These five types of physical activity may help relieve some of the pain.
Traditional wisdom suggests that when your body hurts, you should rest. But when it comes to arthritis, research shows that physical activity can actually help ease pain, as well as stiffness and swelling in the joints. Choosing the right kinds of activities, however, is important. Here are five of the best exercises to relieve arthritis pain.
Swimming and aqua aerobics are great examples of water-based activities that can help relieve arthritis pain. The warm water of a heated pool makes moving easy and allows you to focus on range of motion in a slow, controlled and safe manner. The resistance that the water provides is also great for building muscle. (Find out more daily habits that keep your muscles strong.)
Tai chi involves changing posture through a series of slow and controlled movements. This gentle exercise places very little stress on major joints like knees and ankles, and essentially makes movement easier by improving synovial fluid absorption in joint cartilage—effectively “lubricating” joints. The regular practice of tai chi has been linked to decreases in fatigue and joint pain as well as improved balance.
Yoga is an ideal activity for arthritis sufferers, particularly because it helps improve both physical and psychological symptoms of the condition. In fact, regularly practicing yoga has been shown to relieve arthritis pain, improve joint flexibility and decrease stress and tension. Concerned you don’t have the flexibility required? Don’t be. Many yoga poses can be modified to make them accessible to beginners regardless of age or ability.
Walking is a superb way to stay active without putting a strain on your joints. Once you’re comfortable walking at your own pace, challenge yourself to walk farther, faster or uphill. (Here’s what happens to you body when you start walking 10,000 steps a day.) Just keep in mind that introducing these greater degrees of difficulty will place added stress on your joints, so implement changes gradually. One of the best things about walking? If you need alone time, it’s a great opportunity to clear your mind. Alternatively, you can introduce a social aspect by inviting a walking buddy to join you. (Find out more ways to make walking less boring.)
Many high-intensity activities are hard on your joints, but it’s still important for people with arthritis pain to get their hearts pumping each week. Cycling is a fantastic cardiovascular exercise because it can be done at a high intensity without placing any added pressure on your joints.
Now that you know the best exercises for arthritis pain relief, find out the foods arthritis sufferers should avoid.