Exercises that can help ease arthritis pain
Published 11:44 am Friday, March 23, 2012
It’s also important to keep in mind that when you first start exercising, you need to go slow to give your body time to adjust. If you push yourself too hard you can aggravate your joint pain, however, some muscle soreness or joint achiness in the beginning is normal.
To help you manage your pain start by warming up with some simple stretches or range of motion exercises for five to 10 minutes before you move on to strengthening or aerobic exercises. Another tip is to apply heat to the joints you’ll be working before you exercise, and use cold packs after exercising to reduce inflammation.
If you’re experiencing a lot of pain while you exercise, you may need to modify the frequency, duration, or intensity of your exercises until the pain improves. Or you may need to try a different activity – for example switching from walking to water aerobics. But it you’re having severe, sharp or constant pain, or large increases in swelling or your joints feel hot or red, you need to stop and see your doctor.
To help you exercise at home, there are a number arthritis exercise DVDs you can purchase to guide you through a wide variety of activities. Collage Video (collagevideo.com, 800-819-7111) sells several at prices ranging between $10 and $25, as does the Arthritis Foundation Store at afstore.org or 800-283-7800.
Also see go4life.niapublications.org, a resource created by the National Institute on Aging that offers a free exercise DVD and book that provides illustrated examples of exercises you can do to improve your condition. You can order your free copies online or by calling 800-222-2225.
If you need some motivation or don’t like exercising alone, ask your doctor about exercise programs in your area for people with arthritis. Hospitals and clinics sometimes offer special programs, as do local health clubs and senior centers. The Arthritis Foundation also conducts exercise and aquatic programs for people with arthritis in many communities throughout the U.S. Contact your local branch (see arthritis.org/chaptermap.php, or call 800-283-7800 for contact information) to find out what may be available near you.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.