Arthritis Ireland will be raising awareness with national events and awareness campaigns and will be using the #awareness when posting on social media about the events.
Arthritis Ireland has great information on their website regarding exercise and arthritis.
In this 2 part Article I’ll be haring some tips and information from ArthritisIreland.ie that can be used for anyone who has arthritis and who is thinking or beginning exercise.
Exercise can help you improve your health and fitness without hurting your joints.
Cartilage depends on joint movement to absorb nutrients and remove waste.
Maintaining a healthy body weight is an important part of arthritis management.
Did you know that losing 1kg of excess weight decreases stress on your knees by 4kg?
By increasing physical activity, you can make a difference to your joints and overall health.
Along with your current treatment programme, regular, moderate exercise offers a whole host of benefits, including:
- Reduces your joint pain and stiffness
- Strengthens the muscles, ligaments and cartilage around your joints
- Helps you maintain bone strength and quality
- Increases your joint range of motion and joint mobility
- Improves your balance
- Gives you more strength and energy to get through the day
Exercise will not make your arthritis worse – as long as it is the right sort of exercise.
There isn’t just one particular exercise or activity that is recommended for people with arthritis. Choose an activity that you enjoy and that is convenient for you to do.
Low-impact exercises, with less weight or force going through your joints, are usually most suitable.
Examples of low-impact activities include:
- Swimming and exercising in water, such as hydrotherapy (with a physiotherapist)
- Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates
The wrong sort of exercise could put strain on your joints and damage them further.
Ask your GP to refer you to a physiotherapist.
There are three main types of exercise for people with arthritis:
- Range of movement
- Aerobic exercise
A good exercise programme will generally include a combination of all three.
Range of Movement
Range of movement (ROM) exercises forms the backbone of every exercise programme.
It is important to do these as they help maintain flexibility, relieve stiffness and are important for good posture and strength.
Range-of movement exercises involve moving your joints through their normal range of movement and then easing them a little further, such as raising your arms over your head or rolling your shoulders forward and backward.
ROM exercises are done smoothly and gently so they can be carried out even when in pain and during a flare-up.
Tips for range of movement activities:
- ROM activities are best done daily in a non-weight bearing position, such as lying or sitting on your bed or couch.
- When doing ROM exercises, move your joints within the full range as much as you can tolerate and not any further.
- If you are experiencing pain in your joints, your ROM will be limited, but it is important to move within your limits every day.
- For ROM exercises, if the joint you are moving feels good you can repeat these activities five to 10 times, holding each position for no more than three seconds.
- Stretches are best done when the muscles are warm, such as after a walk or fitness class.
- Stretches should be a smooth movement; avoid bouncing or jerking.
- If the joint you are moving is hot, swollen or painful, avoid stretches for that day
Strengthening exercises are important for everyone, but especially for people with arthritis, because they help strengthen the muscles which move, protect and support your joints.
Many people become less active when they develop arthritis because of the pain and fear of causing damage.
This can lead to muscle wastage and weaker joints.
By developing strong muscles, joints become more stable and activities such as walking and climbing stairs are easier.
Some exercises may be harmful so always check with a doctor or physiotherapist before starting on a regime –they may be able to suggest alternative moves.
There are many ways you can do muscle strengthening activities:
- Lifting weights using machines, dumbbells, or weight cuffs
- Working with resistance bands
- Using your own bodyweight as resistance (e.g., push-ups, sit ups)
- Heavy gardening (e.g., digging, shovelling)
- Some group exercise classes.
Tips for strengthening activities:
- It is important to avoid doing strengthening exercises on consecutive days so that you have a day of rest in between.
- When starting out, it is advisable to use light weights or resistance bands.
- Pick a resistance that allows you to do 10 to 15 repetitions. As your strength improves and this becomes easy, you can progress to heavier weights or stronger resistance bands and continue to progress to a weight or resistance level you can tolerate.
- If the joint you are moving is healthy or free of pain, you can repeat the strength exercises 10 times. If the joint continues to be pain-free, then you can increase the number of repetitions to three sets of 10.
- Always take a break after each set and in between activities.
- If the joint you are exercising is slightly swollen and only mildly painful, cut the repetitions in half and increase their number only very gradually.
- If the joint you are exercising is hot, swollen and painful, do not perform strengthening exercises without first consulting your health-care provider.
Next week I’ll be looking at aerobic ways to stay active in exercise, daily life and even in work.
In the mean time you can keep in contact with me through the link below.
For more information, contact me through the link below.
* Emmet is the owner and operator of Rushe Fitness