The Importance of Getting Exercise When You Have Arthritis and How to Get It

Exercise, physical therapy, and muscle strengthening form the cornerstones of arthritis therapy. They’re so important that medical experts from organizations like the American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation recommend that exercise should be a mainstay of arthritis treatment.

Here at Andrew B. Richardson, MD, we create arthritis management plans that incorporate exercise. And we know that how you exercise is just as important. With our expertise in arthritis and physical therapy, we structure a safe, individualized, and well-balanced exercise program for you.

Exercise relieves arthritis pain and improves joint mobility

This is the heart of why you need to exercise. There’s no doubt that regular exercise reduces joint pain and stiffness in people who have arthritis. Exercise also helps you function better in your daily life and improves your sleep.

Healthy joints normally produce hyaluronic acid to lubricate the joint and promote movement. However, people with osteoarthritis have lower than normal levels of hyaluronic acid. Regular exercise helps replenish joint lubrication, further diminishing pain and stiffness.

Exercise also helps arthritic joints by strengthening the muscles that support your joints. Engaging in simple weight-bearing exercises like walking promotes strong bones, which may help slow down bone damage as arthritis progresses.

Exercise supports weight loss

Carrying extra weight places an incredible amount of stress on your joints, especially the weight-bearing joints such as your ankles, knees, and hips. Being overweight or obese is associated with joint pain, an increased risk for osteoarthritis, and faster deterioration of the joint once arthritis develops.

If you’re only 10 pounds overweight, the force on your knee increases by 30-60 pounds every time you take a step. On the other hand, losing weight significantly reduces the pain of osteoarthritis.

Modifying your caloric intake and getting regular exercise provide the foundation for successful weight loss.

When you have arthritis, how you exercise matters

You can protect your health by consulting with an orthopedic specialist before jumping into a workout plan. We assess your overall health and the extent of arthritic deterioration in your joint to determine the best exercise regimen.

We typically begin with low-impact exercises performed for a short time, gradually increasing your effort so you build endurance, strengthen your muscles, and relieve the pain. Other components we include in an arthritis exercise program include:

As you start to exercise, we help you find a balance between exercise and rest that’s optimal for your health.

If you struggle with painful joints and limited movement due to arthritis, we’re here to help. Call Andrew B. Richardson, MD, or schedule an appointment online.

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