Osteoarthritis is a painful condition in the joints of the hands, knees, hips and spine. It affects millions of people throughout the world and is caused when the cartilage that cushions the joints wears down. There is no cure for this condition but there are some things you can do to strengthen your muscles around the joints. In turn, you may feel better overall.
It is important to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. Your physician may have specific instructions for you to follow. These guidelines are important for helping to keep you safe. There are many different exercise programs that are safe for individuals with Osteoarthritis.
Locating a gym and setting goals
When looking for a gym choose one close to home, as it will be easier to go on a regular basis. You should also think about when you would like to workout. Individuals with arthritis usually feel better in the afternoon. Getting to the gym in the morning may be harder.
Water exercise is easy on the joints and may help with pain. Being in the pool will take weight off of your joints and make movement easier. When exercising in the water you can either have a trainer, take a class, or work on your own. If you choose to work on your own having an initial assessment and a training session is beneficial. Initial assessments and training sessions are usually included in a membership. You should also ask which classes would be suitable for you.
Individuals can benefit from land exercise as well. Some gyms have land arthritis classes or light classes. Again, having an assessment can help you to figure out which classes are right for you. Like water exercise you can choose to take a class, work on your own, or hire a trainer. Either way, talk to the fitness staff and ask for guidance. On land, warm up is important. Try to do a 10 to 15 minute warm up on a recumbent bike. It will be easier for you to move after a proper warm up. It is also important not to run, jump, or lift too heavy.
Mind/Body exercise is a nice compliment to any workout. It usually incorporates a balance and stress management component. There are many classes to choose from such as Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi. Most gyms today, have many variations of these classes. For instance, Gentle Yoga, and Chair Yoga are popular among individuals with arthritis. When searching for a gym ask what types of classes are offered.
Robyn Caruso is the Founder of The Stress Management Institute for Health and Fitness Professionals. She has 15 years of experience in medical based fitness.