Being energetic and active seems like a mere dream for those with hip and knee arthritis. How can you think of exercise when your joints are killing you? Or perhaps you’re hesitant to put effort into a decent workout on a good day because you’re afraid those pesky pains will start acting up again? One common misconception of having joint arthritis is that exercising will enhance your pain and cause injury, but those who find this true are most likely trying activities that are too strenuous for beginners with their condition. If fear consumes you to the point where you avoid increased activity entirely though, the stiffness, swelling, and pain which reduces your range of motion will only worsen over time along with leading to muscle loss and weight gain. Yikes!
Now, you’re not going to start with something as intensive as kickboxing, but you’ll be surprised to know engaging in the right activities, such as stretching or range of motion, strengthening, and endurance aerobics, will only work to improve your symptoms! Exercise will go beyond just relieving pain, fighting off any future damage while you strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your joint mobility, reducing joint pressure, increase overall flexibility, and all the while maintaining a healthy weight! So what are the best moves to get your body in motion? Check out these top seven exercise routines just for you!
The easiest way to embark on relieving arthritis through exercise is to begin with some simple stretches like leg raises. By doing so, you can get a feel for your current range of motion, what’s comfortable for you and what isn’t. You can always rely on a good stretching session to kick those joint pains to the curb as they will help warm up your muscles and prepare them for any activities to follow.
Taking a step up from basic stretching, what isn’t there a yoga move for? Studies have shown this mind-body practice to be beneficial in more ways than one, and relieving arthritis is no exception! The gentle stretching, increased flexibility, and enhanced energy yoga offers will decrease any aches and pains you’re suffering from. Some beginner moves specifically for hip and knee relief include the half pigeon pose, low lunge, camel pose for opening up the hips while the supported warrior and triangle pose assist in alleviating your knees.
This “overrated” exercise has earned all of its high praise. This is the go-to workout of major athletes for injury recovery and prevention. It’s a safe, low-impact, exercise with little intensity. Pilate movements are extremely easy so anyone of any age can engage in them without difficulty. Start off with a few simple moves or invest in the latest Pilates DVD for beginners and make some space in your living room!
4. Water Aerobics
Where regular running and aerobics fail as they are too stressful on your joints, water aerobics step in for the win. It’s no mystery that being in water makes you feel lighter which works in your favor as it takes less weight and pressure from your painful joints. Water workouts from swimming, jogging, or even playing sports will help get rid of pain. If you don’t own one, hit up your local pool. Your body will thank you!
Since simplicity is key here, why not incorporate something you do every day into your arthritis relief regime? Getting those knees and hips in motion will help rebuild your worn and damaged joints and diminish the pressure surrounding those areas. So go out and enjoy the scenery at the neighborhood park or take a stroll around the block.
Does your community hold a weekly spin class? Don’t shy away from joining in on the fun! Cycling is another low-impact exercise and the cyclic pattern stimulates cartilage in the joints, allowing them to loosen up rather than remaining so stiff. Gradually, you can work your way up to riding a bike outdoors.
7. Weight Training
Although this sounds intimidating, with the proper guidance and perseverance, weight machines are extremely beneficial for hip and knee arthritis. We’ve touched base on how important strengthening is as a means to relief pain so of course lifting weights will lead you straight to that as well as improving your physical performance and overall symptoms. You can begin with a very light pair of ankle weights and slowly but surely work your way up from there.
As with any condition, you should always talk to your doctor or physical therapist to make sure you’re on the same page with what’s best for your body and where you should begin, just like with any new exercise routine, you want to take your time and at an easy level. With dedication and a positive mindset, you can always excel! Pay attention to your body though and make sure you’re not pushing yourself too hard and overdoing it. Also, remember to applying heat before any workout will relax your joints, kill any existing pain before you begin and icing your joints afterwards will prevent swelling and discomfort.
Now that you’ve acknowledged your options, it’s clear getting yourself moving isn’t that far-fetched of a goal. Whether you’re planning to increase your range of motion, strengthen your body, or improve your overall fitness, you no longer have to let the pain weigh you down! By finding the right exercise, you will begin to feel like a whole new you! For more helpful tips on arthritis and other health related issues, be sure to check out our blog today!