Exercise 4 Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is a chronic disorder of the joints that is common amongst older people, but also occurs in younger people following injury. Osteoarthritis occurs through wear and tear of a joint over many years of loading. The cartilage that normally lines a joint to ensure smooth movement and shock absorption is worn down, causing the opposing bones to rub together and cause pain and stiffness.
Many people with arthritis stop exercising due to fear of making their pain worse. However we know that inactivity often leads to more pain, more stiffness, weaker muscles, reduced balance, and reduced mobility. In fact, exercise is as effective at relieving arthritic symptoms as pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs, but with fewer side effects.
The Arthritis Foundation of Australia advises arthritic people to engage in a low-impact physical activity program to manage their condition.
Exercise helps to:
- Keep the joints flexible and muscles strong
- Lubricate the joints
- Decrease joint pain and stiffness
- Improve mobility
- Aid in improved sleep
- Increase energy
- Improve overall prognosis (outlook) for the arthritis
Low-impact exercises appropriate for people with arthritis include:
Resistance training – Either at home, in a gym or group exercise class. Using weights, therabands or body weight to strengthen the muscles surrounding arthritic joints is an essential part of managing arthritis. Your Exercise Physiologist can individually prescribe a program to suit your needs.
Aerobic Exercise – Walking, swimming or cycling can help to increase blood flow to your joints which helps to relieve pain, stiffness and reduce swelling. High impact exercises including running are not advised.
Hydrotherapy – Water based exercise is a great way to exercise while offloading painful joints.
Tai Chi – This gentle form of exercise helps with balance, strength and range of motion.
If you are overweight, dietary changes may also be required to help with weight loss to reduce the load on arthritic joints.
For further information, call us today on 9583 5200.