By Kim Clements
Exercising with Arthritis
Following up on our earlier discussion, let’s look at the most common joints that are effected by osteoarthritis (OA) Hips, Knees, Fingers and Feet.
Hips – Pain in the groin or buttocks and sometimes the inside of the knee or thigh.
Knees – A grating or scraping feeling when moving the knee.
Fingers – Bony growths (spurs) at edge of joints. Can cause fingers to become swollen, tender and red.
Feet – Big toe feels tender & painful. Ankles & toes may swell.
We all know there are many over the counter drugs to help ease pain and inflammation, as well as, certain modalities such as massage, acupuncture and surgery. But, let’s talk about the four techniques that you can & should do to take control of your body.
1. STRENGTH – As I mentioned earlier, strong surrounding muscles support and stabilize an arthritic joint. Strength training with dumbbells, machines, bands or body weight is crucial for better posture, pain management and fall prevention. Recommended classes: Body Conditioning, Barre Essentials, Gentle Yoga, Water Fitness.
2. FLEXIBILITY – Stretch exercises that increase joint range of motion will create more synovial fluid in the joint resulting in less pain & stiffness and better ease of movement. Recommended classes: Gentle Yoga, Barre Essentials & Water Fitness.
3. CARDIOVASCULAR – Gentle aerobic activity helps improve stamina and energy levels which aid in controlling excess weight on arthritic joints. With an elevated heart rate, fresh oxygen and blood flow will reach affected joints stimulating them to perform better. Recommended classes: Water Fitness, Zumba Gold, Spinning.
4. BALANCE -To prevent falls, balance exercises involving standing on on
leg with correct posture & alignment, as well as, weight transfer exercises that challenge you to control movement from two feet to one
foot are excellent challenges to build core and lower body strength. Developing concentration and focus is an added plus. Recommended classes: Barre Essentials & Gentle Yoga.
Listen to your Body / Respect your Pain Some discomfort is normal when exercising, but should be minimal. On a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being unbearably painful), your discomfort should be no more than a 2! Remember, regardless of age, every member has some type of physical issue they are dealing with, even if is not evident to the eye. Sample these classes, listen to your body and follow along intelligently. Personal Fitness is not a race … it’s not a competition … It’s an intelligent, healthy lifestyle.