If you’re wondering what is the best exercise for my joints, the answer is plenty. Don’t avoid exercise – learn which ones will help you feel relief.
Exercises to Strengthen Joints
Exercise is tough when you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). When you feel pain and swelling in your joints, the last thing you want to do is exercise – but that may be hurting you.
According to rheumatologist Hareth Madhoun, DO, “People who exercise have improved daily function, decreased depression and fatigue, reduced pain, and improved sleep.”
While symptoms like fatigue and joint pain may stop someone experiencing RA from exercising, Dr. Madhoun reminds us of the adverse effects inactivity brings.
A decrease in physical activity “results in reduced muscle strength and ultimately can lead to increased arthritis pain and disability,” says Dr. Madhoun.
If you’re looking for exercise for joint pain due to arthritis or other conditions, try doing the following exercises three to five times a week.
Work up to 30 to 60-minute sessions. Discuss any new exercise plans with your doctor to ensure safety.
Since the water supports your body, swimming limits the stress felt by your joints. According to a 2017 study in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, women with RA who tried 16 weeks of water-based exercises experienced significant improvements in joint pain.
Some individuals with RA may not be able to participate in cycling if their hands are too damaged. However, if your body is up for it, try cycling a few times a week.
The smoother motion of cycling minimizes the jolting felt when jogging.
Exercises like Pilates provide a low-impact workout that can ease pressure on your hips and other joints. Pilates works by strengthening the control of muscles and can help cope with RA symptoms and manage pain.
Try it at your own pace and find modifications if necessary.
If you want an exercise routine that will help you with multiple problems, try walking three to four times a week. Apart from being easy on the joints, walking helps with weight loss and heart health, which helps those with RA.
Weight loss eases stress and pain the joints, and individuals with RA experience an increase in risk for heart disease, so improved heart health is a plus.
5. Strength Training
Stronger muscles lead to less strain on your joints. Try out resistance bands, free weights, and weight machines.
Make a gradual increase when it comes to intensity, so you don’t get injured. Do strength training sessions two to three times a week.
Try ten different exercises that will work different muscles across the body.
Make It Fit
Exercise for individuals with RA doesn’t always come in a one-size-fits-all form.
Focus on using the right form and posture, start slowly and build up gradually, and consult your doctor as to how to best fit exercise into your routine without hurting yourself.