I know, it sounds counterintuitive that moving painful joints through a range of motion exercises would lessen joint pain … but it does! Ready?

Let’s start out with what the world-renown Mayo clinic has to say about exercising with arthritis pain: “Exercise is crucial for people with arthritis. It increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue.” As a matter-of-fact, not exercising your arthritic joints makes the pain and stiffness worse!

A consistent exercise program tailored to your arthritis can:
• Strengthen muscles surrounding joints and bones – This means less bone on bone rubbing and therefore less pain.
• Maintain bone strength – Stronger bones mean less likelihood of osteoporosis and breaking a bone.
• Help you sleep better – The body repairs itself while you sleep including muscles, connective tissue and tendons.
• Help control your weight – Less weight means less pressure on your joints, thus reducing the pain.
• Enhance the quality of life – With less joint pain, you will enjoy life more
• Improve your balance – As we age, our balance decreases which increases the risk of falling and breaking a bone.

An exercise program tailored to people having arthritis should include movements that increase:
• Range-of-motion
• Bone and joint strength
• Fitness level

When exercising with arthritis, keep these tips in mind:
• Apply heat to your painful joints before starting to exercise. Warm towels, hot shower or hot packs all help loosen up muscles.
• Stretch the joints that will be exercised by using static and dynamic stretching for 5 to 10 minutes prior to exercising.
• Keep the impact from exercising low. Some people find low impact movement like swimming, using a ski machine or an elliptical trainer are easier on their joints.
• Go slow. If you notice more pain than usual or your joints start swelling, stop and see your healthcare professional.
• After exercising, apply ice for up to 20 minutes as needed to reduce swelling and inflammation.