Arthritis and Exercise

Jun 14, 2016

Arthritis and Exercise
When thinking about ways to manage arthritis what comes to mind?
Is exercise on your list?
It’s not usually one of the first things we think of, but maybe it should be. Exercise has a number of benefits that can positively impact the life of someone with arthritis. Today we are going to focus on one major benefit; Exercise can help to manage and reduce the pain associated with arthritis.
Before we begin, we should point out that there are many different types of arthritis and that not all types manifest themselves in the same way. While the benefits of exercising are still similar there are different precautions to take with each type, so be sure to know your diagnosis and any exercise precautions associated with it before getting active! Now let’s talk about one of the major benefits of exercising – Pain Reduction and Management!
While there are many other benefits, we are choosing to focus on this because of the enormous impact it can have on one’s quality of life. Even though it may seem like the opposite of what we would like to do when we are experiencing pain, research suggests a consistent exercise program will actually improve our perception and levels of pain. This may be due to a number of factors, including improving joint health, increasing our pain threshold, release of endorphins and reduced stress on our joints. Let’s talk a little bit more in detail about how each of these factors can help to manage or reduce the pain cause by arthritis.
Our bodies are made to be moved! Our joints need to be moved to stay healthy, when we get the fluid that is contained in our joint spaces moving, it nourishes the joint. If we don’t move our joints they can become more stiff and painful.
Secondly, one study found that exercise increases our threshold for pain. This means that while the pain still may exist and though we can still feel it, we are able to cope with it better.
Exercise can also help us manage our pain by releasing endorphins. This is of benefit because endorphins have the ability to act a natural pain reliever.
Lastly, exercise can help reduce unnecessary stress and strain on our joints by helping us to maintain a healthy body weight. At the best of times extra pounds can cause our joints to be under more strain, and the effects can be compounded when there is a diagnosis of arthritis as well. Of course eating a healthy diet is a key factor for this as well.
So let’s do good to our joints and improve our quality of life by managing our pain in healthy ways.
Here is an AIM Fit Seniors Exercise video for the Hands and Wrists that can help to manage arthritis.