Exercise and Arthritis, Part 2

June 26th, 2012 · No Comments ·

Muscular/Skeletal Fitness
Research has shown that resistance exercises significantly helps strengthen the bones and muscles while improving functional fitness — the ability to perform everyday tasks and activities with greater ease, less strain and lowered chance of injury.

Perform exercises that target the major muscles of your body, such as legs, chest, back and shoulders. These exercises include: weight training with light dumbbells, pushups, slow arm circles, leg lifts, and other resistance exercises using surgical tubing or elastic bands.
Perform these exercises once or twice a week at first and gradually increase to three times per week. Be sure to alternate days. Never performing resistance training two days in a row.
Perform all exercise in a slow and controlled manner to ensure the targeted muscles perform the work.
Be sure to start with very light weights (1 to 5 pounds depending on the exercise) and increase slowly. Even if the weight seems light, try it for a couple of sessions before increasing to a heavier weight.
Gradually progress up to two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions per exercise.
Flexibility, Balance and Mobility
These exercises focus on minimizing stiffness, enhancing posture and helping gain confidence in balance and mobility, which reduces the risk of injury. They can also be useful in reducing pain in affected areas.

Perform stretches for all the major muscles such as legs, chest, back and shoulders. These exercises can be performed daily or at least four times per week.
Perform all exercises in a slow, controlled manner. Hold all of the stretches for 10 to 30 seconds without bouncing.
Do stretches after the body has been warmed up, such as after a walk.
Endurance and Stamina Building
Endurance activities are important in providing overall health benefits including, fat loss, an increase in daily energy levels and reduced health risks. Due to the joint pain associated with arthritis, you should take care in selecting the aerobic activity that will be performed.
Some cardiovascular exercises that place minimal stress on joints include biking, swimming, rowing and walking. Be sure to start out slow and focus on time rather than distance goals.
Start by exercising one to two days per week for 15 to 30 minutes and gradually work up to three to five times per week for 30 to 40 minutes. Begin with low intensity exercises.
Use the first five minutes of your cardiovascular workout as a warm-up, giving your body the necessary time it needs to get used to the activity.
Throughout the workout you should be able to talk, and should not feel like you are pushing yourself beyond a comfortable state.
Always slow down for the last three to five minutes of exercising to allow blood to return from the working muscles to the heart and your body to return to its resting state. Never skip this “cool-down.”

Special Precautions

Due to the pain associated with arthritis, it may be necessary to adapt some of these guidelines into your workout in order to exercise regularly. Use low intensity and duration during the initial start-up portion of the exercise regimen.

If necessary, accumulate your total exercise dose in several sessions spaced out throughout the day — do a little at a time, taking breaks in between.
Warming up and then stretching should be done daily, even on days when the disease flares and vigorous activity is undesirable.
Avoid any activity that causes increased joint pain lasting more than an hour or two after the exercise.
Be prepared for some muscle and joint discomfort. This is a normal response to exercise, especially in the beginning.

Tags: Fitness