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How to treat arthritis with exercise

Arthritis is a debilitating condition that can affect all joints in the body. It can lead to severe pain, immobility, and potentially a joint replacement. For a lot of people when they hear this word ‘arthritis’ they immediately start to panic and think the worse, but what if I told you arthritis can be treated effectively with exercise and may only require 10-15 minutes of your time a day. Let’s have a look at how this can be done.

Benefits of exercise for Arthritis

Health professionals, doctors, and scientists have been singing the praise of exercise for years especially when it comes to conditions such as arthritis. Exercise for arthritis normally comes in a few forms, strength, mobility, or functional training. Strength training normally involves weighted exercises and is aimed at increasing the muscle’s ability to handle load. This is super important as it helps to develop the support around your joints and reduces the impact on the arthritic joint. Mobility training is designed to get you moving better and can involve things like stretching or gentle walking. This type of training is designed to get your joints moving more effectively and ensure that the muscles are not overly tight and putting a strain on the joint. The last type is called functional training. Functional training involves doing movements that are relevant to your normal daily activities. Such as practicing lifting off the floor or lifting and putting something overhead. These exercises are also very important as they can help you do these movements in a safe and pain-free way.

Combined, these types of exercises will help your reduce your pain and manage your arthritis better so you can continue to do all the things you love.

How much should I do?

This is not a straightforward answer as everyone is different and is suffering at different levels. The amount of exercise needed can be as little as 10 minutes a day to begin with and progresses as you become stronger and more mobile. You are also much better off do regular small amounts of exercise e.g. 10 mins a day, then doing one large session once a week e.g. 1-hour session, once a week. As always it is best to consult your local Exercise Physiologist for a treatment plan individual to your needs.

Why should I exercise?

I got no time. I don’t have any equipment. I can’t be bothered. Can’t I just get a massage? These are very common excuses as to why people don’t exercise. These people also don’t see any improvements in their pain and suffer for a long time. When performing your exercise routine, you need to think of your ‘Why’. Why do you want to get out of pain? Is it so you can play with your grandkids? Is it so you can walk to the shops? What is YOUR why?

If you know this, then you can use it as your motivation to exercise because recovery is not straight forward. There may be some ups and downs but if you stick to your program you can get the results you are after.

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