For those living with arthritis, exercise can seem like a conundrum. As a professional home health aide can support, physical activity is shown to help promote mobility and ease the symptoms of arthritis. Yet, for many people living with arthritis, disease flare ups can make the concept of exercising feel nearly impossible!
Luckily, exercise is NOT impossible for those living with arthritis. In fact, by adopting safe physical activity practices, those living with arthritis can easily work out! Here is a brief guideline for exercising with arthritis.
Take it slow.
When you exercise, you want to ease your body into it. Even professional athletes cannot just drop everything and immediately exercise! They need to warm up their form, get a good night’s sleep, and prepare their body for what’s to come.
For those living with arthritis, it is just the same! They need to stretch slowly, awakening up the muscles and tendons. Then, it’s best to ease into the exercise, adopting a slow pace to test the waters. Take note of how your body reacts, speeding up when you feel comfortable and slowing down when you do not.
Listen to your body.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to ‘just push through’ the pain. Listen to your body and be aware of your symptoms. If it’s a bad day for flare ups, it may be best to focus on stretching, or tailor the activity to be gentler on the affected area. Remember, the goal is to use exercise to make the symptoms better, not worse!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
When you exercise, you lose water through sweat. If you do not replace this water, your body can suffer an imbalance of fluids. This imbalance causes dehydration, which can trigger inflammation. That’s why it’s crucial to drink hydrating liquids while working out.
Bring a workout buddy.
Exercising is not just a solo activity. In fact, for those living with arthritis, you can benefit from enlisting the help of another person. A caregiver or home health aide can be there to ensure that you are supported throughout your exercise. They are qualified and trained to ameliorate pain and address flare ups.
Be gentle with yourself.
Remember, throughout this process, it’s important to be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not progressing at a pace that you would like. Most importantly, never fault yourself for a flare up.
Remember, you are doing your best and working on yourself, that’s always something to be commended!