Best Exercises If You Have Arthritis

If you deal with daily joint pain and stiffness from arthritis, the idea of exercise may seem counterintuitive. After all, physical activity is often the last thing that comes to mind when joints are achy. It may come as a surprise to know that exercise is actually good for arthritis. That’s right, physical activity can ease arthritis pain and stiffness.

At Valerius Medical Group & Research Center in Los Alamitos, California, board-certified rheumatologists Nathaniel Neal, MD, and Rebekah Neal-Kraal, MD, help patients with rheumatic conditions, such as arthritis, lead a fulfilling life. In this blog, they explain why exercise is a vital part of living well with arthritis, and they also provide suggestions on the best exercises to try.

Benefits of exercise

Exercise is good for your joints and muscles whether you have arthritis or not, but if you’re one of the 54 million people in the United States living with arthritis, exercise is a must. Here are the top reasons why an active lifestyle is vital for people who have arthritis. 

Improves joint mobility and flexibility

Anyone with arthritis knows that joint stiffness is a problem that often strikes hardest in the morning and continues throughout the day. Exercise can help increase range of motion and lubricate the joints, and thus help ease stiffness. 

Stabilizes joints

Your muscles play an active role in stabilizing your joints, while your tendons and ligaments play a passive role in keeping your joints stable. Weak, untrained muscles can compromise joint stability. Keeping your joints stable is crucial when you have a joint disease, and exercise can help you do just that. For example, increasing strength in your thigh muscles through exercise can help keep your knees stable.

Eases inflammation

Exercise increases blood flow throughout the body, calms inflammation, and boosts synovial fluid, which is a fluid that lubricates the joints. These benefits can ease joint pain and stiffness in people with arthritis.

Stabilizes the immune system

Exercise strengthens and stabilizes the immune system, a major benefit for people with rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the joints. Exercise can help people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis manage their condition. In fact, studies show that people with rheumatoid arthritis who are active can have a milder course of the disease. 

Exercises for arthritis patients

Low-impact exercises that improve balance, boost strength, and increase flexibility are excellent for people with arthritis. Types of exercises that can benefit people with arthritis include the following:

If you don’t know where to start, or if you’re not used to exercising, a good exercise to start with is walking. Walking is a low-impact activity, and nearly anyone can do it regardless of their fitness level. Furthermore, it’s not only good for your joints, but it’s also good for your heart. 

Aim to start walking at least 150 minutes a week. That’s 30 minutes a day for five days. Of course, you can walk more on some days and less on others, but the most important factor is that you get moving.

We want you to live life to the fullest! But, before you start any new exercise regimen, be sure to talk with your doctor first, especially if you’re injured or have limited mobility. 

Together, we can help you manage your arthritis and thrive. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Valerius Medical Group & Research Center today.

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