By: Megan Lambert
From 2010-2012, approximately 52.5 million adults in the United States were diagnosed with a form of arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although arthritis can be defined as painful inflammation of a joint in the body, it is a common myth that exercise makes arthritis symptoms worse.
In fact, physical activity can actually alleviate and reduce painful symptoms associated with this condition.
“Joint range of motion, stretching, and muscular endurance are keys to successful living or aging with arthritis,” says Kim Rockey, owner of Indy Core Wellness & Fitness in an article entitled “Arthritis sufferers need to exercise” for the Current in Zionsville.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, here are two ways exercise benefits this condition:
- Warm-up exercises increase your joint range-of-motion.
Before starting your workout routine, you should perform various mobility exercise and stretches. Movements such as body weight squats, walking straight leg marches, and inchworms increase blood flow to your muscles and joints. In turn, this takes the joint through its proper range-of-motion in a controlled manner which can prevent a loss of function related to a loss of motion.
- Resistance training strengthens muscles around arthritic joints.
One purpose of strength training is to use body weight exercises, free weights, or exercise bands to strengthen your muscles. Strengthening your muscles around the arthritic joint stabilizes it in the joint capsule. Additionally, the Arthritis Foundation article, “Free Weights,” says,
“Strength training keeps muscles around affected joints strong, it lubricates joints, decreases bone loss, helps control your weight, boosts your stamina, contributes to better balance, and helps control joint swelling and pain.”