According to the CDC, roughly 50 million people (about 1 in 5 Americans) are affected by arthritis. Arthritis is the most common disability in America and spans across all age groups. Here are three keys to help in managing arthritis.
Speak with Your Doctor
Those who seek medical treatment early for arthritis tend to have better long term outcomes in managing their condition. Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition and medical treatment is the first step. Additionally, patients who are given a medical prescription to exercise are likely to engage in more physical activity.
Newtons first law of motion, “a body in motion tends to stays in motion” reigns true to arthritis. Exercise plays many roles in managing arthritis from strengthening muscles, to improving ranges of motion in the joints, and enhancing cardiovascular conditioning.
Take it Slow and Progressive
Mental blocks can sometimes slow you down when thinking of exercising with arthritis. You should exercise even on those days when it’s hard to muster up the idea of moving. Slower movements in your exercise program may allow you to bypass some of the joint pain receptors and ease the pain of motion. Over time, increase the intensity to a more moderate pace.
Aquatic exercise can be a great activity to easing arthritic pain. Being in the water allows you to reduce the loading of the joints. Water also provides resistance to engage the muscles for strength and toning. Remember, we aren’t fish so it’s best to combine out of the water activities in your exercise program.
Watch Your Weight
Your weight directly affects arthritis. Gaining weight or being overweight adds unnecessary sheering and compression forces on the joints. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “each pound of weight lost will result in a 4-fold reduction in the load exerted on the knee per step during daily activities.” Simply put, for every one pound of weight loss, you will reduce around 4 pounds of joint pressure in the lower extremity.
Don’t let arthritis keep you down and inactive. You can take control of your life with arthritis. Contact your Doctor for treatment options and seek a qualified medical exercise professional to help you design a exercise and lifestyle program that’s right for you.