Posted on 18 Sep 2014

Arthritis and Exercise

We tend to associate arthritis with old age, but is that correct. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, it can be just one joint or any number of joints. In the UK arthritis is the main cause of disability from painful swelling in the joint that can cause stiffness. There are, of course, different types of arthritis, but the two main types we will consider are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is usually known as the wear and tear one. As the name suggests it develops in joints where excessive use has been the case. Rheumatoid arthritis can develop at any age, and it is the result of the body’s immune system attacking the tissues. Fatigue is also a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis.

When you suffer from arthritis it is still important to keep active. However, it’s also important to discover the correct form of exercise and level of activity. Good fitness programmes should consist of range of movement, strengthening, and aerobic exercises. Examples of movement exercise is swimming, Tai chi, and Pilates. As you can see these are considered low impact activities. Strengthening exercises help to build up muscles around the joint to support the area. Aerobics strengthens the heart muscles. Suitable examples of aerobic exercise is walking briskly, tennis, and cycling.

Regular exercise will help to maintain a suitable weight for your height, thus reducing the symptoms of arthritis. For both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis moderate exercise is much more beneficial than a more demanding one, as excess exercise can put even more stress on the joints.

There are exercises to avoid if you suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. These activities tend to be classed as high impact exercise, and they are running or jogging, using a skipping rope, and high impact aerobics. In short, any activity where both feet leave the ground at the same time. Of course, that leaves a wide range of activity available to try.

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