May is Arthritis Awareness Month– a designation intended to raise awareness of the disease that affects 50 million adults and 300,000 children, according to the Arthritis Foundation. There are many myths surrounding arthritis, but one of the most common myths is that arthritis sufferers cannot exercise. This is completely false and, in fact, inactivity can even promote further deterioration of the joints. Certain exercises and activity have been shown to alleviate some of the pain associated with arthritis and increase the flexibility of arthritic joints.
Here are some tips for staying active with Arthritis:
Keep it low impact
Some examples of low-impact activities include: walking, swimming, cycling, gardening, dancing and group fitness classes.
Get activity on most days of the week
The CDC recommends adults with arthritis get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity per week. This can also be substituted with 1 hour and 15 minutes of more vigorous aerobic activity.
Make a splash
Swimming is a great option for those who have arthritis because the water relieves the pressure of the weight on the painful joints, but still provides some resistance. You may even be able to find a water exercise class nearby, sometimes called "hydrotherapy," or "aqua therapy." These classes consist of exercises that are performed in the pool as a group or individual.
Aerobic & Strength
For those with arthritis, it's important to include both strengthening and aerobic activities in your exercise routine. Aerobic activity supports a healthy body and reduces your risk for chronic conditions like heart disease, obesity and diabetes– which are more common among those with arthritis. Strength exercises help build the muscles surrounding arthritic joints, helping to alleviate some of the pain.
You should always talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program, but especially if you have arthritis. To learn more about managing your arthritis pain or beginning an exercise regimen, visit us online at Oak Hill Hospital or call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120 for health information and physician referrals.