Top Tips for Working Out With Arthritis
10th October 2016
Many avoid exercising with arthritis and see it as a massive no-go, simply because it seems unnatural to workout areas of your body that cause you so much pain. I mean who wants to move around when you’re feeling achy and stiff? No-one! But the truth is, if you suffer with arthritis then not moving can make things a lot worse, so it’s time to make a change.
Exercise is a crucial part of improving your joints so working out with arthritis can only make things better. Of course it’s not easy, but we are not saying you need to run a marathon or hit a spin class. The simplest of exercises can make all the difference and we are going to tell you, everything you need to know about working out with achy joints.
No not drinking water - If you love a relaxing swim then this is ideal for you, as water exercise is classed as low impact, so there is little to no pressure on those tender joints. Ever wonder why everyone feels so light in the water? Well water removes weight off your joints and muscles meaning a pain free workout! However, water also adds resistance and helps build strength. So pop a bathing suit on and give swimming or water aerobics a try! Also, if you’re lucky enough to have access to a heated pool, then submerging your body in warm water increases your body temperature which means an increase in circulation. A great excuse to hit the pool area after a workout!
Don’t worry – you don’t need to do the splits or bend into a crab shape. Yoga is a fantastic way to improve flexibility and any kind of stretching exercise can only benefit your arthritis, as it also reduces risk of injury. It is recommended that you take a Yoga class on an afternoon or evening as trying to be more flexible first thing on a morning can prove to be more difficult and may cause you pain. So - if you enjoy peace, quiet and relaxation then this is an exercise that can make you feel cool, calm and collected. Why not hit a class tonight? No stress – Namaste!
SHIFT YOUR WEIGHT
If you’re feeling uncomfortable, there is any easy way to get rid of that just by simply shifting your weight to a different area of your body. For example - if your aim is to tone your bum and legs and you love a good squat or lunge; but you can feel the strain in your knee caps, then why not try this solution: shift your weight back onto your heels, as opposed to the balls of your feet, which reduces strain on the kneecaps. In addition to shifting your weight why not change up your range of motion - if you shorten your range of motion it will ease your joint pain. This way you can practice the moves you love without battling with discomfort. The squat in particular can take a bit of practice to make sure your form is correct, as well as balance – get it right and you shouldn’t have any joint issues.
TAKE TIME TO STRETCH
It’s such a simple process but so many of us forget to do it - with or without arthritis. It’s time to spend a little more time on this pre-workout and post-workout exercise, as you’ll be sure to regret not stretching when you get home and seize up, struggling to move your muscles and joints without feeling achy. Tight muscles prevent normal movement which means your joints are forced to work that extra bit harder – and that’s the last thing you want. So try setting off to the gym that little bit earlier to squeeze in those all-important stretches.
MIX THINGS UP!
If you want to avoid injury then you need mix things up once in a while with your workout routine. Even when you don’t have arthritis it is not good to do the same workouts every day but it’s even more important when your joints are at risk! If certain areas of your body are feeling over worked it’s time to spice things up by following a higher intensity workout with a gentle workout. So if you love a good run, that’s great! But try not to overdo it - don’t hit the treadmill then force more cardio onto your achy joints; instead, try switching up your next workout with a good swim or yoga session to relax your body from all that pressure.
Whatever you do, DO NOT keep working out through high amounts of pain! It’s normal to start your workout and feeling slight amounts of pain as your joints are adjusting to what is happening. But after a few minutes the pain should start to fade - if you experience some serious discomfort in your joints it is important to stop immediately! This can show you have joint damage or you could be experiencing inflammation, so please be careful. Trying to push through strenuous pain will only cause more damage and hinder you from further workouts. If you’re a fitness freak and arthritis is new to you then don’t let it bring you down - even when your arthritis has flared, you can work out other areas of your body and still have a great workout!