Exercise helps people suffering with arthritis to maintain their joints and activity level, but making your body move when you hurt can be a daunting proposition.
"Exercise is crucial for people with arthritis," according to the Mayo Clinic
. "It increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue. Of course, when stiff and painful joints are already bogging you down, the thought of walking around the block or swimming a few laps might seem overwhelming."
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But even moderate exercise can make a difference in the disease's progression and quality of life. However, for people with rheumatoid arthritis, research has shown they shouldn't exercise for two or three days during a flare-up, Health magazine said
. Before adding any exercises to your routine, talk with your physician.
Here are four forms of exercise that people with arthritis may want to add to their health regimen:
1. Range-of-motion exercises
– These exercises simply mean moving your limbs as they usually move. Raise your arms over your head or roll your shoulders, The Mayo Clinic said.
2. Water exercise
– Moving while in the water cushions your joints as you exercise, and it can allow you to get aerobic exercise that's necessary to stay healthy, Healthline reported
. In addition to swimming laps, check around your area for water aerobics classes. Exercising in a heated pool can be beneficial for the aches and pains of arthritis.
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– This form of exercise can be helpful even when joints are sore, Health magazine said. "Yoga packs two great benefits for people with RA. Using deep relaxation techniques, like yoga Nidra, promotes a healthy immune system and helps reduce joint inflammation," the publication said. "Plus, gentle stretching is great for maintaining mobility and movement. Health cautioned against doing power yoga, hot yoga, and flow, a particular type of yoga.
– Exercise doesn't have to be rigorous to be beneficial. "Walking is a great bone-strengthening and aerobic activity," Health said. "The American College of Sports Medicine recommends going at a moderate-to-hard intensity level — 60 percent to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate — three to five days a week and working up to a 30-minute session."
Mayo said many hospitals and clinics offer exercise programs specifically designed for people with arthritis.
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