If you’re dealing with the pain and stiffness of arthritis, trying to exercise may seem counterproductive. But gentle (and sometimes vigorous) exercise can bring relief.
Range-of-motion exercises can reduce stiffness and keep your joints flexible. That will also reduce your pain.
Here are three basic stretches. Hold each for 10 to 20 seconds and repeat a few times.
Many types of aerobic exercise help people with arthritis. Exercising in water is good because the buoyancy reduces the load on the joints. Pool aerobics and swimming are great choices.
Other options include:
A review of studies showed that no bad effects came from people with rheumatoid arthritis combining aerobic activities (either on land or in water) with strength training.
These types of exercise programs improved aerobic capacity and muscle strength.
Yoga is great for flexibility, but it also promotes strength, good posture, endurance, and balance—all of which are useful in dealing with arthritis. Yoga can also boost your energy level and reduce aches and pains.
A beginning or gentle yoga class is a good place to start. Many health clubs, YMCAs, and community centers offer them.
In addition to exercise, there are many helpful herbs and supplements for joint pain.
"Dynamic exercise programs (aerobic capacity and/or muscle strength training) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis" by E. Hurkmans et al., Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews