Exercise can be very beneficial for arthritis sufferers, often relieving stiffness in joints, strengthening muscles thereby reducing stress on joints, keeping bone and cartilage tissue strong and healthy, and increasing flexibility. A recommended 30-minute minimum of daily activity is the norm. Before starting any exercise program, it is vital that one speak to their doctor to ensure there are no unseen risks, however you will find that most doctors recommend exercise for their arthritis patients either on their own initiative or when asked.
The types of exercises suggested vary; however, with all types of exercise the warm-up is the starting point. Warming up is best started with applying warm compresses to the joints, followed by mild stretching. Range of motion exercises, such as dance, are a very good start, as are low-impact aerobics. These can relieve stiffness and increase flexibility. Never discount the effectiveness of walking as an exercise. Walking is a great exercise to improve the arthritic condition, and carrying weights as light as one pound and using your arms as you walk can involve the whole body. The "trick" is to make walking interesting enough as an exercise to stay motivated. Try walking in different settings, alternating walking with dance on different days, and of course including a partner can be much more interesting than going at it alone.
Using aquatics: exercising in a pool-is a great way to exercise as well. Water is an excellent aid because it provides resistance that builds muscle in the entire body while reducing shock to the joints at the same time. Additionally, because the whole body tends to become involved in aquatic exercise the added benefit of cardiovascular exercise is enjoyed. If at all possible, find a heated pool to work out in. Warm water is soothing to the joints and will cause the blood vessels to dilate, increasing circulation. With that in mind, it is often beneficial to add using a spa to your regimen, perhaps after your workout, in order to provide some soothing jets of water to your muscles and even more help with increased circulation, which is always vital when dealing with arthritis.
If you still want more variety, you may want to try yoga. Yoga is a general term for several stretching, and pose-oriented exercises originating in India, and is extremely beneficial toward achieving flexibility and reducing stress physically and mentally. There are gentle forms of yoga such as Hatha Yoga that are excellent to start with. Hatha Yoga comprises of gentle stretches and simple poses that help flexibility and balance, and are easy to learn and enjoy. Check your local activities paper or section of your local paper to see if there are any yoga classes near you.
Written by Shelley Hitz, Licensed Physical Therapist and Certified NASM Personal Trainer. If you have arthritis, she can design an online exercise program for you! Contact her today at http://www.onlinefitnesscoach.com or sign up for her FREE Exercise Advice Journal at http://www.abs-exercise-advice.com/journal.html