Archive for January 21st, 2008

Can I Exercise Even If I Have Arthritis?

January 21, 2008

A common question indeed! Diabetics are prone to arthropathies.  Or shall we say…joint pains due to arthritis affect almost every pateint after the age of 50.  The tendency of patient with arthritis is to assume a position that they deem less painful and avoid the joint from being moved.  Unfortunately this reflex of patients gets them into more trouble.

Exercise is part of arthritis treatment regimen…it is encouraged and not avoided. Exercise has been shown to help improve joint mobility, increase ones muscle strength as well as sense of well being by improving overall physical conditioning, and helping one lose weight.  Likewise, exercise has been shown to help keep bone and cartilage tissue strong and healthy resulting in improved mobility of the joints involved.

Some exercises that we recommend for patient with arthritis include: Flexibility or stretching exercises to improve the range of motion of the joints involved.  Strenghtening exercises to keep the muscles strong to protect the joints from further injury. For my patients with knee pain,  I usually also recommend stationary bike exercise to provide less strain to the knees while allowing mobility to the feet and arms.  Swimming is best also because the bouyancy helps put less pressure on the kness and joints.

My recommendation to those who suffer from arthritis is: Keep your joints moving. Exercise daily if you can and help make your lives better by making yourself feel better through exercise not only to help you move but likewise move free of pain.  

Here are some tips from the University of Washington regarding exercise and arthritis:

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These exercises can help keep your joints moving. Follow these tips to get the most benefit.

  1. Do these once or twice per day.
  2. Do each exercise 3 to 10 times.
  3. Move slowly. Do not bounce.
  4. Breathe while you exercise. Count out loud.
  5. Begin exercises slowly, doing each exercise a few times only and gradually build up to more.
  6. Try to achieve full range of motion by moving until you feel a slight stretch, but don’t force a movement.
  7. Don’t try to help others do their exercises by moving their arms or legs.
  8. STOP exercising if you have severe pain.

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Make exercise part of your daily routine.  Remeber to start slow and go slow. 

Again this is where Discipline Counts to make life better and easier!