You’ve got arthritis. Your hip hurts when you walk, your ankle twinges with each step, or your big toe won’t bend without killing you. Why on earth would you want to add to the pain by exercising?
Benefits of exercise
It seems counterintuitive, but moving around is actually a very good idea for people with arthritis. Studies have shown that people with arthritis see their pain significantly decrease when they exercise even for just a couple of hours a week.
Exercise has been proven to
- ease inflammation
- increase levels of endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals, in your body
- increase energy levels, leaving the sufferer with more patience to deal with their arthritis
- fight depression
- help you lose the extra weight that may be contributing to arthritis pain
By contrast, sitting for long periods of time makes stiff joints even stiffer. In addition, all of the muscles and soft tissues that your body uses to move around tighten up with inactivity. Stiff muscles, ligaments, and joints make all activity difficult – and put you at risk for falling.
4 great workouts for arthritis patients
Set aside your fear of arthritis pain and try adding these workouts into your day:
- Water sports like swimming and water aerobics get you moving with little strain. The Arthritis Foundation recommends warm water workouts over cold for soothing painful joints.
- Walking is easy to do alone or with a partner, and you can choose how strenuous to make it. Pick a country road with hills; or, if that’s too much, find a flat route or try walking the track at a local school.
- Strength training – using weights and resistance bands increases the strength of the muscles that surround and support your joints.
- Tai-chi and yoga improve flexibility and balance while going easy on the joints.
Arthritis and your feet
Feet and ankles are no strangers to the ravages of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause toe deformities such as hammertoes and claw toes. Osteoarthritis often strikes at the base of the big toe or anywhere in the many joints that make up your ankle. Foot and ankle arthritis can make it challenging even to walk.
Exercise can help! For more information about managing arthritis pain of the foot and ankle with exercise or other approaches, make an appointment with expert podiatrists Megan L. Oltmann, DPM and Craig B. Frey, DPM at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland. Call our Solon, Ohio office at (440) 903-1041 or contact us online.