Are you one of the many people who suffer from joint pain? If so, you could be suffering from arthritis which is the inflammation of your joints. Arthritis affects millions of people year in and year out most notably seniors who are often diagnosed with a form of arthritis called osteo-arthritis or "degenerative joint disease". This disease occurs mainly due to excessive use of the joints as a person gets older. However, arthritis also affects other age groups by means of other factors; such as: being overweight, bad posture, lack of exercise or untreated injuries that did not heal properly. These are factors that are responsible for speeding the process of the development of arthritis and the degeneration of the joint. And these are factors that can also be avoided.
For the longest time, doctors actually prevented people who have arthritis from exercising because they thought it would be too hard for the person's joints to handle. It's only recently that doctors finally realized the benefits and importance of exercise to help control or even prevent arthritis. Exercise and other activities are beneficial to a person with or without arthritis because it boosts one's energy, it promotes better sleeping habits, it helps maintains a manageable weight, it makes muscles, bones and the heart stronger, it decreases depression, fatigue and weariness. It can also increase one's self-esteem. These are just some of the advantages of exercise. For those who have arthritis, exercise is that much more important to incorporate in their daily regimen because it prevents atrophy or stiffness of the joints and muscles. Exercise strengthens the muscles around the joints as well as the cartilage and tendons surrounding the joints.
People with arthritis need not be scared when they hear the word "exercise" for exercise is not limited within the walls of the gym and exercise is not only about lifting heavy weights. Exercise can come in many different ways, shapes or forms. Although different types of exercises and sports might be too hard on the joints and too physically demanding there are other forms of activities that a person with arthritis can do to keep active and to strengthen those joints. The key is to be creative, to go at your own pace and most importantly have fun.
Without exercise, the joints can become stiff and painful. Exercise keeps the bones, muscles, and joints healthy. Because of arthritis, it is that much more important to exercise to keep the muscles and joints as strong as possible. The stronger the muscles and tissues are around your joints, the better they will be able to support and protect those joints--even those that are weak and damaged from arthritis. Without exercise, the muscles become smaller and weaker, and the bones brittle.
Many people with arthritis keep their joints in a bent position because it's more comfortable. If the joints stay in one position for too long (without movement) they can become stuck in that position. If this happens, it is possible to even lose the use of those joints. Exercise moves these joints and helps keep them as flexible as possible. Without exercise, one can get caught in a cycle of pain, depression and inactivity.
Here are some exercises that you might want to try and incorporate with your routine. These exercise are broken down into three different types to help you plan your fitness program better as well as give you a better understanding as to how each phase is designed to help you strengthen your joints more efficiently.
1st type - Range of Motion "“ helps maintain Flexibility
Stretching is a very important aspect of overall well-being and it is one that is often overlooked. Why is it overlooked? Mainly because it is boring and it is far more gratifying holding a pair of dumbbells than it is to try to touch that big toe and hold it for 20 seconds. The fact is if stretching is neglected those muscles are going to get stiff. Stretching strengthens the joints, prevents injuries and keeps you limber and flexible. As people age their strength wanes but their flexibility shouldn't for flexibility or lack there of does not have anything to do with age it has everything to do with being active or inactive.
2nd type "“ Fitness "“ helps maintain and promote endurance
- Elliptical Machines/ (Stationary) Bikes
Elliptical machines and bikes are good for people with arthritis because these machines are easy on the joints. Walking, running, dancing or aerobics are all good low effort exercises but the joints still do take a pounding with these types of exercises. Elliptical machines and bikes guide the whole joint throughout the movement taking off the added strain on the foot and the knees. Furthermore biking can also be enjoyed by people of all ages and shapes and sizes.
If you want an activity that is really fun and easy on the joints then take swimming. Even if you don't know how to swim you can still do laps around the shallow end of the pool to get a good workout. Swimming is an exercise tool widely used for rehabilitation purposes from injuries and from surgeries.
3rd type "“ Strength "“ Build Muscle
This last part depends on just how bad one's arthritis problem is. If you're still able to lift weights then by all means keep doing so, however, stick with light weights while doing more reps. stick with doing compound exercises, these are exercise that require the use of other joints to be able to perform the exercise properly, for example; bench press, squats, deadlifts, military press. Always try to keep using the proper form by performing each exercise and each repetition slowly and consistently.
Other exercises that you can do using 5 lbs dumbbell weights are "“ chest "“ dumbbell flyes, incline press; shoulders - front and side lateral raises; back "“ shrugs, rows; biceps "“ incline and standing dumbbell curls, triceps "“ kickbacks; legs "“ lunges.
Before you begin it is a good idea to consult with your doctor to see if the above suggestions are right for you. And if they are that's great, go for it! Also remember that the exercises mentioned here are not set in stone, feel free to switch your exercise or change your routine every 3-4 weeks. Experiment and try different things that you think will work for you or that you would want to try. The possibilities are endless!
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