• Health Contributor

10 Reasons Exercise Helps with Arthritis


Hot weather has your arthritis (osteoarthritis) symptoms flaring up like a wildfires? Heightened pain may be triggered directly by swelling, or it could be indirectly caused by dehydration. However, in this day and age there are some things that can be done and one of them is as simple as adding and exercise regime to your life.

Consider these 10 reasons to start an exercise program to help manage arthritis and/or alleviate the pain.

1. Flexibility training helps improve range of motion and reduces stiffness in afflicted joints, especially the early-morning stiffness often associated with arthritis.

2. Aerobic exercise, particularly low-impact activities such as walking, not only improves overall fitness, but also helps reduce the psychological and emotional pain that often accompanies arthritis.

3. Strength-training exercises help build muscle strength, enhance joint stability and improve mobility, making it easier to perform activities of daily living.

4. Both weight-bearing (e.g., walking) and weight-loading (e.g., strength training) exercise positively affect bone mass, helping to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease that is often seen in people with arthritis due to their reduced levels of physical activity.

5. Arthritis can negatively affect posture, balance and coordination, all of which may be improved by regular exercise.

6. Excess weight (especially in the form of extra body fat) places additional strain on the joints, so maintaining a healthy body weight is very important for people with arthritis. Along with a sensible diet, exercise plays a key role in helping individuals maintain normal body weight levels.

7. Exercise has been shown to help manage stress, which can take its toll on the whole body, including the joints.

8. Arthritis is a chronic degenerative disease, people with arthritis often become depressed and develop a poor self-image. Those who exercise, however, are less likely to be depressed and tend to possess more positive mental outlooks and confidence.

9. Painful joints can make getting a good night’s sleep difficult, if not impossible. Regular exercise has been shown to improve overall sleep patterns and may help lessen this problem.

10. Since arthritis frequently leads to a more sedentary lifestyle, individuals with this condition are often at an increased risk of developing other significant health problems, such as heart disease or diabetes. Staying active and exercising regularly is an effective means of not only controlling the effects of arthritis, but also of minimizing or eliminating the risk of developing a variety of other lifestyle-related diseases.

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