A while back, we ran an article on healthy life hacks which talked about building stretching and other simple activities into your daily routine. Along the same line, we’re going to discuss the best exercises for arthritis that those of us with joint pain and inflammation can try in order to complement supplements such as GLX3 in offsetting the symptoms of the disease.
Best exercises for arthritis: Aerobics
Getting the blood flowing is a critical part of combatting arthritis. Many aerobic exercises are more high intensity than other workouts, but offer an array of benefits:
- Improved weight control. For those suffering from arthritis, losing a bit of weight can reduce the pressure on knees, ankles, and other joints. We know, talks of losing weight are a record on repeat these days, but the truth is that for overweight arthritis patients, losing a small amount of weight can make a big difference in relieving joint pain and inflammation.
- Improved stamina. As aerobic exercises become part of your weekly workout routine, you’ll notice improved stamina in this and other aspects of life. As your body adjusts to the workouts, the perks of being in better shape can help joints and muscles function at a higher level.
- Looser joints and muscles. When muscles aren’t being used regularly, they weaken and tighten up. Combined with stretching, aerobic exercise keeps muscles and joints loose.
There are a number of great aerobic exercises for arthritis. Riding a stationary bike or an actual bicycle is a great place to start. It avoids the constant pounding on the knee joints that come with jogging. Plus, it burns calories quick. Swimming is another great option, for those with access to a pool.
Another best aerobic exercise for arthritis is to simply take an extended walk a few times per week. If you can work up to 2-3 hours of moderate aerobic exercise weekly, you’ll begin to notice significant benefits.
Best exercises for arthritis: Range-of-motion exercises
Arthritis is all about inflamed joints – that uncomfortable, often painful feeling that never seems to go away, even if it isn’t always present. Range-of-motion exercises are a great way to counteract this.
The biggest benefit is the reduced stiffness. With consistent repetition, this can lead to reduced inflammation and pain down the line. Here are a few simple range-of-motion exercises to help loosen those joints:
- Arm circles. Long, loose circles of the arms overhead keep the shoulders used to circular motion. This can be done daily without causing excessive soreness and should be repeated both frontward and backward. This also works the elbows.
- Elbow bends. While standing with arms down by your side, slowly fold the elbows up. If you can, touch your shoulder with your fingertips. Don’t stress if this isn’t possible – go as far as is comfortable and remember to take it slow. With time, you’ll begin to notice increased mobility.
- Wrist bends. The wrist’s version of elbow bends. While sitting, rest your arms on an armrest or table. Slowly bend the wrists up and down, trying to slowly push the level of comfort as you can. Following this, roll the wrists in circular motions. Remember to do this slowly, and stop if the pain becomes excessive.
- Finger bends. Moving down the joints, finger bends are next in line. This can be done in the same position as wrist bends, although an armrest or table isn’t necessary. Start by making a tight fist, then slowly relax and open your hands. Try this with individual fingers as well, slowly opening and closing them one at a time, from thumb to pinky.
- Leg movements. While lying on your back, slowly lift one leg up and lower. Repeat in sets of 5 or more, and then try with the other leg. While lying down with legs on the surface, roll both legs back and forth with the goal of touching toes to the surface. This may take time and practice – go as far as is comfortable.
- Knee rotations. Lying on your back, bend one knee until the foot is on the surface. Slide the heel as close to your waist as you can go. Repeat on the other side. Another option here, if you can, is to begin by pulling the knees up to your chest while lying down. Stretch the legs out and lie them down onto the surface.
Best exercises for arthritis: strengthening
For those who can, weight training is among the best exercises for arthritis because it helps increase muscle strength and mobility. The repetition of weight exercises helps joints loosen and adjust to increase motion and use.
It is important to speak with a doctor. If you have the go-ahead to proceed with strengthening exercises, here are a few to begin with:
- Soup can lift. If you’ve got a 16 oz food can in the cupboard, you have all the material needed for this exercise. With feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, place a can in one hand and curl your elbow up towards the shoulders. Repeat 10-15 times.
- Wall push-ups. These push-ups can be done standing up. Position yourself 18 inches to two feet from a wall. Place your hands on the wall, and slowly let your weight shift onto the wrists. Be careful not to apply to much pressure. Push yourself back out to standing position. Repeat 10 times, or as many as are comfortable.
Forming a routine
Before beginning any of these best exercises for arthritis, speak with your doctor to see what he or she recommends. They may have more specific routines for you to work on. Each of the exercises we discussed here can be built into your weekly routine with relative ease – all it takes is a bit of disciple and a determination to relieve joint pain and inflammation.
Combining these exercises with a dietary supplement such as Green Lipped Mussel Oil can be an effective one-two punch to combatting arthritis symptoms. A better life begins with better health – and YOU are the only one who can take that first step. Best of luck!