Fitness and Arthritis: How fitness can help arthritis sufferers

Posted by Jared delbo on

Arthritis, according to medical experts, is very common but few people only understand it.  In fact, arthritis is not just a single disease; rather it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease.

Research shows that arthritis has more than 100 different types and related conditions. Unlike other ailments where one gender only has the potential to have it, people of all ages, sexes, and races may actually have arthritis, and it has already been reported that it is the leading cause of disability in America.

Moreover, more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. Swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion are just some common arthritis joint symptoms. They may come and go, can be mild to moderate or worse, severe. They may stay the same for about years but may progress or get worse over time.


Chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs are just some of the results of severe arthritis since arthritis may lead to permanent joint changes. The changes may rather be visible like having knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray.

Other types of arthritis can also greatly affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys, and skin as well as the joints.




Diagnosing arthritis most often begins with one’s attending physician who performs a physical exam and may do blood tests and imaging scans to help determine the type of arthritis. Once it is determined, there are several medical interventions to help preserve joint function, mobility, and quality of life.

More than making use of the scientific advancements, it is also important to allocate time for physical and recreational activities that may help stabilize one’s health and lastly, maintaining one’s healthy weight is equally essential as well. It is a truth universally acknowledged that exercise enhances one’s health and in this case, eases arthritis pain and stiffness.


However, one should be aware of his limitation since he should first classify the type and level of exercise he should be undergoing first to achieve greater results.



A person with arthritis may have his doctor or physical therapist recommend exercises for him, but these are the most common exercises done by people experiencing the same condition.

One of which is what is being called as the range-of-motion exercises that help relieve stiffness and increase one’s ability to move his joints through his full range of motion. Range-of-motion exercises include movements like raising one’s arms over one’s head or rolling one’s shoulders forward and backward. These types of exercises can be done on a regular basis.

The second type of exercise is strengthening exercises wherein it helps one build strong muscles that help support and protect one’s joints. Strengthening exercises include weight training which can help maintain or increase one’s muscle strength. Unlike the previous exercise, with strengthening exercises, just be careful to avoid exercising the same muscle groups two days in a row as one also needs to rest a day between workouts, and take an extra day or two if the joints have become painful or swollen.


One should bear in mind that when starting a strength-training program, a three-day-a-week program may help jump-start one’s improvement, but two days a week is all that one needs to maintain his gains. The third type of exercise is an aerobic exercise that helps with one’s overall fitness. Aerobic exercises help improve one’s cardiovascular health, helps one control his weight and give more stamina and energy.

Low-impact aerobic exercises include walking, bicycling, swimming and using an elliptical machine. Also, with this type of exercise, one only needs to work his way up to 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise per week and then he can split that time into 10-minute blocks if he finds it easier on his joints. Whereas moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is the safest and most effective considering that it is done most days of the week, but even a couple of days a week is better than no exercise.

One way to determine if one is still in the moderate intensity exercise zone is that he should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising, though his breathing rate will rather be increased. One may think that the mundane household chores are only a burden but they actually help in improving one’s joints like mowing the lawn, raking the leaves and walking the dog.

These ordinary activities can be impactful no matter how little they may seem to be. One may also engage in body awareness exercises like gentle forms of yoga or tai chi, which helps in improving balance, preventing falls, improving posture and coordination, and promote relaxation.

One will just have to make sure to inform his instructor about his condition and make sure to avoid positions or movements that can cause pain.




Before engaging in any of the abovementioned exercises, you must first talk to your attending physician before you include fitting exercise into your treatment plan since the types of exercises that are best for you solely depends on the type of your arthritis and which joints are involved, and your doctor or physical therapist can highly work with you to find the exercise plan that gives you the most benefit with the least intensification of your joint pain.

On the other hand, you might be noticing pain if you have not been exercising for a while or if you have been inactive lately. This is the reason why medical experts always insist for you to communicate with them and ask them about what pain is normal and what pain is a sign of something more serious.

At the end of the day, your doctor knows what is best for you and he will not withhold you from achieving the good health.

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