It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best things you can do when you have arthritis is to keep moving. The key, though, is to select an exercise routine that pampers rather than stresses your joints.
John S. Michels, MD, is an award-winning pain management specialist serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area with expert medical care focused on improving your quality of life. Dr. Michels delivers minimally invasive, nonsurgical treatments that reduce the inflammation, discomfort, and decreased mobility caused by chronic pain conditions like arthritis.
He’s happy to provide these tips for joint-friendly exercise that keeps you active while improving joint flexibility and strength.
Check with the doctor
Whether you’re new to exercise or an old hand at daily workouts, you need a doctor’s review before you put arthritic joints to work.
During your initial evaluation, Dr. Michels carefully considers your symptoms, examines your achy joints, and uses advanced imaging to identify your current level of joint damage. He then develops a strategy customized to fit your needs.
Your plan may start with in-office treatments to relieve pain, stiffness, and inflammation. These therapies can also prevent future joint damage.
For instance, inflammation is a root cause of joint pain; it also erodes cartilage and other tissue structures in the affected joint. Thus, along with recommending an exercise strategy that protects your joints, Dr. Michels may recommend a joint injection to tackle the inflammation and slow or prevent further damage.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race
It may be a cliché, but starting a new exercise routine slowly can keep you moving steadily toward your goal. Even walking five minutes twice a day works. Once you’re comfortable, add 10 minutes to your routine and then another 10, increasing your activity level until you reach your target.
Splitting your workout routine into twice-daily segments makes it easier to fit exercise into your schedule and provides a gentler start for joints.
Stick with low-impact routines
Choose low-impact exercise if you’re new to exercise, beginning again, or changing your pace to accommodate age-related changes. Running, jumping, and other high-impact activities worsen damage in your knees, hips, spine, and other weight-bearing joints.
Cycling, walking, and even dancing are good joint-friendly choices. And our Texas warmth makes water activities an excellent option. Try water aerobics, water walking, or your favorite swim stroke to protect joints and improve your overall health.
Strike the right balance
Balance your workout by including flexibility and strengthening exercises in your routine. Always check with us to ensure these activities suit your joint health. But strong muscles combined with flexible tendons and ligaments can protect your joints by offering the support they need.
Schedule an evaluation with Dr. Michels today for more information about relief for arthritic joint pain and exercises that help. Call our office or request an appointment online.