Combating Wintertime Arthritis with Physical Activity
The pain and inflammation associated with arthritis often leads to reduced physical activity. However, staying physically active when you have arthritis can actually help you manage your symptoms. Exercising regularly may help improve muscle strength, improve balance, and enhance pain tolerance. If you struggle with arthritis symptoms, consider talking with a doctor at your local hospital about lifestyle changes that may help.
Enjoying a Variety of Activities
There are many different types of exercises that fall under the categories of flexibility or range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises, aerobic exercises, and body awareness exercises. Some examples of flexibility workouts include stretching routines such as yoga. To strengthen your muscles, consider using a resistance band, hand-held weights, or a weight machine. Some examples of aerobic exercises that may be ideal for people with arthritis include swimming, bicycling, walking, and dancing. Body awareness exercises, such as tai chi, can help you improve your coordination, joint position sense, balance, and posture.
Choosing an Exercise Routine
In addition to selecting the types of exercises you wish to try, it’s a good idea to carefully consider your routine. Many people with arthritis experience stiffness of the joints that is worse in the mornings. If this applies to you, it can be helpful to enjoy gentle stretching and flexibility exercises in the morning, but to delay more vigorous exercise until the afternoon. Additionally, don’t hesitate to change your routine to accommodate your symptoms. During a flare-up of symptoms, it may be helpful to get more rest and less exercise.
Starting an Exercise Plan
Before beginning an exercise plan or changing your current one, consider visiting your community hospital to consult your physician. Your physician can review your exercise plan and make helpful suggestions. It’s a good idea to begin a new exercise program gradually and to set realistic goals.
Members of the West Hills community who suffer from arthritis or other joint-related conditions can find the help they need at West Hills Hospital. The Total Joint Team at our community hospital includes board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and other joint specialists. You can call (818) 676-4000 for a referral to an orthopedic specialist or browse our website to read more about our healthcare services, including spine care, emergency care, maternity services, and burn treatment.