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What exercises are best for those with arthritis?

Published On: Apr 12 2013 02:19:49 PM CDT
Updated On: May 24 2013 08:55:50 AM CDT
Golfers, father, son, senior, sports

iStock / STEEX

Arthritis is a disease that affects more than 50 million people in America, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

 

In fact, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., their website said.

 

Many people think that they can not or should not exercise if diagnosed with arthritis, but the truth is, they are wrong.

 

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there is “strong evidence indicating that both endurance and resistance types of exercise provide considerable disease-specific benefits for people with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatic conditions.”

 

Darci Kruse, a senior fitness coordinator and personal trainer at an Eagan, Minn., YMCA, said exercise for people with arthritis helps because, “It keeps them mobile, and it keeps them independent.”

 

“Pain management is the key,” Kruse said.  “(Exercise) doesn’t heal arthritis, but it’ll help combat the symptoms of it.  If you have arthritis, it can severely limit what you can do, and if you don’t exercise, it can deteriorate more quickly.”

 

And studies are showing just that.

 

According to the Arthritis Foundation, one pound of weight lost equals four pounds of pressure relieved from the knees. 

 

So what should you or your loved one with arthritis be doing at the gym?

 

“Pool exercises are great, and the warmer the water, the better,” Kruse said.  “The water takes some of the weight off, and the warmth of the water helps warm up their joints.”

 

In addition, she said it is important to regularly do range of motion exercises, but to be careful about how much you do.

 

“It’s important to push them so they keep their range of motion, but not so much they’re in pain,” she said.

 

In addition to pool exercises, there are a number of activities out of the water that can help. 

 

Golf works your upper back, legs, shoulders, wrists and joints, according to an Arthritis Foundation article. 

 

Just be careful not to overdo it, and if you feel pain after a few holes, stop playing, the article said.