Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist who can help you find exercises specifically designed to help relieve your arthritis symptoms.
Keep a journal of your exercise routines — tracking your progress can help you stay motivated.
Contrary to what many people may think, exercise and staying active is not only good for your health, but it can also help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. In fact, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) announced that people with arthritis who exercise have less pain, more energy, improved sleep, and better day-to-day function.
Staying active also can help you:
- Keep your joints flexible
- Improve your ability to move
But before you start any exercise program, it's important to talk to your doctor.
Different types of exercises include:
- Aerobic — Low impact activities like walking, swimming, water aerobics, or riding a bike are good options. These can put less stress on your joints while they help build endurance and improve cardiovascular health.
- Strength Training — Strength-training exercises, like those that use weights or elastic bands for resistance, can build muscle tissue, which, in turn, helps support and protect the body's joints.
- Range-of-Motion/Stretching — Together, range-of-motion and stretching exercises can help relieve stiffness and increase joint mobility. They can also help relieve stress. Moving your joints through their normal range of motion can help keep them flexible, so you can go about your daily routine more comfortably.
Besides helping to ease arthritis symptoms, exercise can also:
- Improve your mood
- Strengthen your heart
- Improve blood flow
- Help you lose weight
The importance of rest and sleep.
Any exercise regimen should include rest. Your body sends signals that tell you when to slow down or stop. It's important to learn how to recognize the signs of overexertion, which can include:
- Lack of energy
- Muscle weakness
Getting proper sleep is also an important part of managing arthritis symptoms. If you find that joint pain is interfering with your ability to rest or sleep, talk to your doctor.