Sports, Athletics & Joint Pain
Types of Exercise to Help Joint Pain
The human body was designed to be in motion, and nearly everyone, even arthritis sufferers and athletes, can benefit from a regular exercise routine. Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Arthritis Center suggests three goals for creating an exercise program for arthritis patients: (1) preserve or restore range of motion and flexibility around affected joints, 2) increase muscle strength and endurance, and 3) increase aerobic conditioning to improve mood and decrease health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Does Exercise Make Arthritis Worse?
Some athletes are worried that exercise contributes to arthritis and can make the symptoms worse. However, research shows that this is not the case. Medical researchers have not found a link between exercise and arthritis of the knee, for example, which is one of the most common body parts that arthritis affects. Other studies have found that there is no strong evidence to suggest that vigorous low-impact exercise is associated with accelerated development of osteoarthritis, in particular.
Running and Jogging
To get your body moving, your heart pumping, and your joints working, one of the best things you can do is go for a run or jog. Take it slow at first, especially if you have pain in your feet, knees, or hips. And remember that walking is always a great option too.
Good Exercises for Arthritis Sufferers
There are certain exercises that are better for athletes and people with arthritis pain than others, and in general, low-impact aerobic exercise and strength training are the best workouts to incorporate into your routine. These are some of the many great exercises that have helped arthritis sufferers manage their pain and boost their overall health and well-being.
Swimming and Water Aerobics
Another great way to lessen the impact of aerobic exercise is to get in the water! Swimming and water aerobics have helped many people with arthritis pain improve their physical condition while reducing their pain.
Biking and Cycling
If you’re worried about the impact of running and jogging on your hips and knees, consider giving cycling a try instead. Cycling works your joints in a different way and may be more tolerable for people with certain types of arthritis pain.
Exercise as Arthritis Therapy
In fact, exercise is often prescribed as therapy for arthritis patients by their doctors. Structured exercise programs, such as group aerobics classes, can help keep you accountable to your commitment to exercise and motivate you to push yourself.
Not only are the positive effects of exercise physical, but they’re psychological too. Immediately after exercising, people feel decreased anxiety, improved mood, and better relaxation than they did before. Exercising can also help people with debilitating conditions maintain their independence, motivation, and quality of life.
Bodybuilding and Weightlifting
Many people are intimidated by all those big weights at the gym, but strength training is an essential component of any exercise routine. Simple weightlifting exercises that help arthritic joints remain strong and flexible work the legs, back, chest, biceps, and triceps.
Just remember that all exercise should be practiced in moderation, and that you should always start exercising gradually and build up your intensity over time.