The importance of getting exercise when you have arthritis

If you’re among the 54 million people suffering from arthritis, then you know all too well the pain that comes from aching, stiffening, and swelling joints. But, did you also know that regular exercise can help you manage and even lessen your symptoms? 

At Essential Medical Clinic in the Westlake, Downtown, and Athens neighborhoods of Los Angeles, our doctors, Sultan Shah, MD, and Pouya Bahrami, DO, offer patients effective pain management solutions for arthritis. In this blog, they discuss how regular exercise can help you manage your pain.  

How regular exercise can help relieve arthritis symptoms

Exercising when you have arthritis may seem counterintuitive. In actuality, exercise can help strengthen your muscles, give you better balance, make your joints more flexible, and reduce your pain.  

In addition to helping you better manage your arthritis symptoms, exercising regularly may also help you sleep better, give you higher energy levels, and help you maintain a more stable weight. Managing your weight is important if you have arthritis, because being overweight will place more stress on your joints.

Exercising with arthritis 

In order to get the most benefit, you need to try a variety of exercises. Here are some exercises you can try:

Range-of-motion exercises

By working on your range of motion, you’ll help decrease stiffness in your joints and muscles. This, in turn, will help to expand your range of motion even more. 

For your arms, try raising them over your head, and for your shoulders, try rolling them. For your knees, try sitting down while kicking your feet forward.

For your ankles, try moving your ankles in circles while you’re seated, and then try pushing your toes down as though they were on a gas pedal. And for your hips, try slowly raising one leg forward while standing. Then put that leg down and try it with the other one. These kinds of exercises are most effective when done daily. 

Strengthening exercises 

Strengthening exercises will help build your muscles, which will then help support your joints. Try using dumbbells and other weight lifting equipment, and make sure to start light and go at your own pace. 

Adding too much weight too fast will not help you improve faster. It may actually cause more damage. Also, don’t exercise the same muscle groups two days in a row. 

Aerobic exercises

Aerobic exercises can improve your endurance, stamina, and cardiovascular health. Focus on low-impact workouts, such as biking, swimming, walking, or using an elliptical.  

If you find exercising difficult, we can refer you to a physical therapist, who can get you started and guide you as you incorporate exercise into your routine. 

If you have arthritis and want guidance in treating it, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Essential Medical Clinic today.

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