Who can benefit from low-impact exercise for joint pain?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and exhaustion symptoms. These symptoms might make you want to lie in bed all day, and it seems that the less you move, the lower your likelihood of experiencing discomfort.
Wrong. The contrary is true. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), participating in regular exercise may help alleviate joint discomfort as well as other symptoms associated with RA (CDC). According to Hareth Madhoun, DO, a rheumatologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in the metropolitan area of Columbus, Ohio, people who work out have enhanced regular tasks, decreased anxiety, and tiredness, reduced pain, and better sleep. These benefits can be attributed to exercise.
The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews conducted a study in April 2017 that looked at many studies that addressed the impact of physical activity on chronic pain. The evaluation showed evidence of benefits overall, with the caveat that additional high-quality research is required. The researchers concluded that there are very few drawbacks to exercise. Some of the essential advantages of maintaining an active lifestyle include enhanced physical function, a reduction in the intensity of pain in joints and other regions, and increased quality of life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people with RA participate in low-impact aerobic exercise three to five times per week, eventually working up to sessions lasting thirty to sixty minutes each. Some examples of such activities include walking, swimming, and biking. Before beginning your new fitness routine, you should discuss it with your primary care physician first.
Fatigue may be a significant barrier to physical activity for people suffering from RA. According to research that was presented at the annual meeting of the Israel Medical Association in January 2014 and published in the Israel Medical Association Journal, between 40 and 80 percent of people who have RA report that the most disabling aspect of the disease is the symptoms, which include tiredness, lack of energy, and weakness. In particular, weariness may be a significant barrier to maintaining a consistent exercise routine when coupled with joint discomfort.
If this is occurring to you, it is essential to remember that less exercise “results in decreasing muscular strength, which eventually may contribute to higher arthritic pain and impairment,” as Dr. Madhoun.
In other words, RA should not be used as an excuse to avoid physical activity. Make it your motivation to get up and begin moving instead. To get started, try seven different RA exercises that experts have advised.
It does not need any specific training, there is no cost involved, it is gentle on aching joints, and you can practice it practically anyplace. According to the Arthritis Foundation, walking may help you either keep your weight at a healthy level or help you lose weight, which will result in less stress on your joints. Walking may also help your cardiovascular and bone health, which is a bonus.
Because RA is known to raise a person’s risk for heart disease, the cardioprotective effects of exercise are particularly relevant for persons who already have the illness.
If you want to stretch your muscles and relax your joints, the pool is the perfect location; thus, you should do aerobic exercise there. Do some laps in the pool, go water walking, or sign up for a water aerobics session. According to a study conducted on women who suffered from RA and published in March 2017 in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 16 weeks of water-based exercises led to substantial advances in joint and other pain and lowered disease activity. This was in comparison to the effectiveness of aerobic exercises that were performed on land.
Swimming is excellent for your health in general, as well as for helping you maintain a healthy weight, improve your mood, and get a better night’s sleep.
Workouts that build muscle
Specific joint pain causes might exacerbate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in affected individuals. However, less strain is placed on your joints due to stronger muscles. Therefore, you shouldn’t be terrified of weights since lifting them is a fantastic approach to improve your strength and add muscle growth.
A combination of aerobic and resistance training may enhance aerobic capacity, endurance, and strength in older persons with rheumatoid arthritis, according to research published in April 2018 in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.
Try out several forms of resistance training, such as weight machines, free weights, and resistance bands. Beginning initially, you should progressively raise the intensity of your workout. Your goal should be to do eight to ten exercises on two or three days each week, each of which targets a distinct set of your body’s major muscle groups. Perform two or three sets of each exercise, with eight to twelve repetitions in each location. Naturally, you should ease up a little bit if you are experiencing any discomfort.
Cycling is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that is gentle on the joints. However, choosing the sort of bicycle most suited to your physical make-up is essential because of the possibility of falling. The Arthritis Foundation suggests looking into comfort bikes (also known as cruisers), recumbent cycles, hybrid bikes, or mountain bikes since these bikes have excellent stability and control.
According to Madhoun, “when a joint and its surrounding muscles are affected by arthritis, the result is often impaired coordination, position awareness, and balance, as well as an increased risk of falling.” For this reason, those who exercise complain that their “knee-outs give out.”. He notes that yoga and tai chi are two types of exercises that are examples of those that develop body awareness. This exercise may increase coordination and balance, a sensation of where the joints are positioned (proprioception), and relaxation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these exercises also include flexibility and range-of-motion activities, which improve joint flexibility and function.
Pilates is a low-impact exercise that focuses on strengthening and increasing your control over your muscles. Because of its minimal impact, it may help relieve strain on your hips and other joints. In addition to being useful in the management of pain and the symptoms of RA, Pilates may also be helpful. People experiencing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are advised by the Arthritis Foundation to take Pilates classes at their speed and to inquire with the teacher about possible adjustments.
Enhancing one’s balance and reducing the risk of falling may be accomplished by practicing various balancing exercises. Some of these exercises include walking backward and standing on one foot. Be aware that you may need to adjust some of your postures to reduce the amount of stress placed on your joints and that you might also want the assistance of specific props to maintain your balance.
Get fit at home
It’s not always necessary to pound the streets or go to the gym to get in a solid exercise. There is an abundance of things to do near your house. Either give your home a thorough cleaning or put some effort into your outside space by picking weeds, raking leaves, or trimming the lawn. You may increase your strength and balance by training yourself to balance on one leg while at home. You may improvise strengthening exercises by utilizing a chair to get from sitting to standing, or you can hoist some small weights, such as soup cans, for light strength training. Talking to a physical therapist or your primary care physician might provide other suggestions.
You are adjusting your workout to account for your R.A.
When you exercise with RA, it is essential to respect and protect your body by making appropriate adaptations to the equipment you use and the different kinds of activities you engage in. If you’re suffering from joint pain, Anisha Dua, MD, MPH, an associate professor at Northwestern Medicine Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, tells her patients to concentrate on low-impact workouts like swimming or yoga. When clients are experiencing a flare-up of their ailment, Dua advises them to prioritize flexibility and low-impact exercises.” Participating in regularly planned physical activity, including aerobic and strengthening movements, is beneficial when the RA is under reasonable control. Remember that you should do each with the correct posture and form, and be sure to allow yourself enough time to build up to a routine.
Rodriguez, D. (2020, September 17). 7 Exercises to Help Relieve Joint Pain. Retrieved from Everyday Health: https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/rheumatoid-arthritis-treatment-management/joint-pain-relief-exercise-pictures/