The aches and pains of arthritis can be excruciating. Simply getting up out of a chair or bending over to pick up a dropped item can be challenging enough, let alone trying to add in an exercise routine, as experts recommend! Yet although it may seem counterintuitive, exercising – in the right way – can actually ease the joint pain of arthritis. The key is finding arthritis-friendly exercises that are manageable and effective.
As the leading provider of home health care in Sun City, AZ and the surrounding areas, we’ve compiled some great suggestions to get you started. As always, before starting or changing an exercise regimen, be sure to check with the doctor for approval.
Start With a Stretch
Stretching to warm up is a vital part of any exercise routine. It improves circulation, balance, muscle control, and coordination, while releasing soreness and tension in the muscles and allowing for greater movement in the joints. It has also been shown to decrease pain, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Gerontology.
The recommendation is for seniors to stretch all of the major muscle groups at least twice per week for at least ten minutes, as well as prior to any cardio or resistance training exercises. Some great stretching exercises include:
- Neck stretch: Slowly lower the chin to the chest, turn the head to one side and hold for 15 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.
- Upper arm/shoulder stretch: Grip a towel with one hand and raise above your head. Let the towel drape down your back, grab with the other hand, and gently pull until you feel the stretch.
- Chest stretch: Reach both arms out to the side with palms facing forward. Gently stretch the arms straight back until you feel the stretch across the chest and arms.
- Lower back stretch: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet placed together, flat on the floor. Twist the torso and gently lower legs to one side, keeping the knees together. Hold and repeat on the other side.
Step Out for a Walk
Walking is an excellent activity for someone with arthritis, as it sends nutrients and blood to the knee joints, easing pain and stiffness. Additionally, it helps improve sleep, energy, and balance, while easing anxiety and stress, boosting heart health, and more.
It’s important to start slowing and build up strength and stamina by gradually increasing walk times and durations. Here’s a sample walking plan to share with the doctor, and with their approval, to begin implementing:
- 1st Week: Walk for ten minutes on three different days.
- 2nd Week: Walk one day for 12 minutes, another day for 14 minutes, and a third day for 16 minutes.
- 3rd Week: Walk one day for 18 minutes, another day for 20 minutes, and a third day for 22 minutes.
- 4th Week: Walk one day for 24 minutes, another day for 26 minutes, and a third day for 28 minutes.
- 5th Week: Walk four days for 30 minutes each.
- 6th Week: Walk five days for 30 minutes each.
Having someone to provide motivation and encouragement to start and stick to an exercise program like this is a great way to achieve success. At Nightingale Homecare, our expert home care providers are here to make exercising a fun part of each day!
We offer a full range of both medical and non-medical in-home care services for seniors, customized to meet each person’s unique needs, including our exclusive Pathlink Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. Through this program, seniors receive coaching to self-manage chronic diseases like arthritis to improve outcomes and stay as healthy as possible.