Some people with arthritis avoid exercise because they think it will worsen their symptoms. In fact, the opposite is true! A lack of exercise makes joints stiffer and more painful.
Exercise increases strength and flexibility, helping to reduce joint pain and combat fatigue. Exercise helps by:
- Strengthening the muscles that surround and support the joints
- Keeping bones strong and healthy
- Helping to control weight; reducing the stress on the joints
It is important to consult with a doctor before beginning an exercise program. The type of activity that will be best for you depends on the type of arthritis you have and which joints are affected. After assessing your general health, your doctor may recommend that you work with a physical therapist to develop an exercise program that will provide the most benefit with the least stress to your joints.
A well designed exercise program may include several different types of exercises, including:
- Range of motion exercises to relieve stiffness and increase your ability to move
- Strengthening exercises to build strong muscles that will better support your joints
- Aerobic exercises to enhance your overall fitness
- Other exercises such as yoga or tai chi to help you stay flexible
If you would like more information on ways to reduce your arthritis pain, ask your Sobeys Pharmacist.