Why would you exercise and move around with arthritis joint pain, if it only makes you feel worse? We know it may sound counterintuitive, but staying active is one of the most important things that you can do to combat joint pain and arthritis. Limiting your movements can weaken your muscles and decondition your body. Fun, low-impact exercises help strengthen the muscles and ligaments near the joints that are causing you pain, and could also increase your range of motion and flexibility. Regular exercise is good for your joints, your heart and your mind, which will all help you stay independent in your later years.
4 Ways to Exercise this Spring
- Walking. You don’t need to run marathons to stay in shape and get your muscles working. If you suffer from joint pain, walking by yourself or with a friend is a great way to exercise. Walk somewhere that you can enjoy the scenery and the beautiful spring weather; try walking around a park, a zoo, through a garden, or even on the beach. You’ll think less about it being an exercise and more about how nice it feels to be outside!
- Gardening. While most of you would not consider gardening an exercise, it is a great way to burn calories and improve your mental health. According to AARP gardening is an aerobic exercise that helps you work new muscles in your body and improve strength, stamina and flexibility. It is extremely rewarding to see beautiful flowers that you grew or eat delicious produce that you worked to create. So, if you don’t already, try gardening this spring as a recreational exercise.
- Bike Riding. While you do use your knees to ride a bike, it is not nearly as harsh on your joints as running on the hard pavement is. Bicycling strengthens your muscles at the front of your thighs, which are key protectors of the knee. Stronger muscles help to stabilize the knees and help them to better absorb shock, which helps to reduce damage and pain. Find a local bike path and go at your own pace. Don’t have a bike? Look into renting one while you figure out if bike riding is the right type of exercise for you!
- Yoga. Yoga is a low-impact exercise perfect for those who suffer from joint pain because its exercises can be modified to fit your individual needs and abilities. It has many benefits including increased flexibility and range of motion, improved balance and decreased joint stiffness. It also helps with psychological issues like stress and anxiety. If you suffer from arthritis, make sure you are using yoga blocks, cushions and support while practicing yoga. You can practice yoga anywhere, so take it outside this Spring!
So, how are you going to #StayActive this spring?