Exercising for people with arthritis is not about looking good or losing weight (even if this is a secondary result). Exercising for arthritis sufferers is about increasing circulation, improving flexibility and increasing strength to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling of the joints. It is an important part of arthritis pain relief and should be considered part of one’s daily routine. Don’t think of it as a chore but as a way to live pain free and happy.There are some important things to know when you start your exercise routine so you can motivate yourself to keep going and don’t overdo yourself.
Take it slow and steady. If you haven’t worked out in a really long time, or this is the first time ever, don’t expect to do everything on your first day. It takes professional trainers, bodybuilders and athletes years to get to were they are, it didn’t just happen overnight. Your body has to get used to what you are doing before you start to notice results. However, your mind, energy and happiness should improve immediately. But don’t get discouraged!
Fit your workout to your own personal needs. If something hurts don’t do it. Try something else that may be easier for you to handle. Not everyone can do everything and you shouldn’t expect that of yourself. Tailor your program to you and not around what you think you should be doing.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t over push yourself because this can lead to injury. Remember the objective is to reduce pain, not give yourself more pain. If it hurts stop, resume at another time. Apply heat to loosen up your muscles before you workout. Use cool/ice packs when you finished to reduce swelling.
Enjoy what you are doing. There is no unwritten rule saying if you have arthritis you have to do this exercise or that exercise. If you like to dance, take a dance class. Try something out, if it’s not for you, don’t continue try something else. Take a different class everyday if you want, as long as you are including range of motion, strength and endurance within your routine you are fine. Like what you are doing and you’re more likely to keep up with it.
You don’t have to spend money. There are several different options for you outside of going to a gym, or taking classes. Home workout videos, online exercise websites or pictures of exercises work just as well as an instructor telling you what to do. Take a walk through a park, or along the beach. Don’t let money hold you back from relieving your pain. There are several free options right in your own home. Also check out your local paper, there are usually lists of events in your area that are free.