Do you worry you shouldn’t be exercising with osteoarthritis because it might make your osteoarthritis worse? Do your symptoms get worse every time you do exercise? Everywhere you read you should be exercising with osteoarthritis but how do you exercise with the pain?
Let’s define exercise. Many people will consider golf exercise as they take a good walk while doing it. That is true and it is good for you on many levels. However when medics advise you need to be exercising with osteoarthritis they mean you should be doing a specific programme of exercises for your arthritis joint. Doing the latter will allow you to play golf more comfortably and not have to be pulled out of your chair that night because you have overdone it! Golf is an activity that has an element of cardiovascular exercise and should therefore be considered a physical activity but is not exercise in the medical sense.
Many studies have found that people with osteoarthritis have a lower quality of life. If you enjoy exercising and suddenly if exercising with osteoarthritis is painful then you will have your quality of life affected.
Best Way of Exercising With Osteoarthritis.
The first thing you must realise is that if you don’t do exercises for osteoarthritis you will, in fact, get worse! You will suffer more pain and stiffness.
Consider how stiff you feel in the morning when you have been sedentary for a while, especially if you had that round of golf the day before! That is because your inflamed muscles, tendons and ligaments (soft tissue) seize up and are painful when you move them. This happens because they have to work much harder when your joint is degenerated and so, in effect, they are being over worked all the time.
Start by doing an individually designed programme of exercises to increase the flexibility of the joint. Then add strengthening exercises to improve the scaffolding supporting the joint and the stamina of the muscles which will allow you to do more with less reaction later on. Here’s a link for more information about this medical type of exercising with osteoarthritis.
After that start doing your physical activity and enjoying yourself. If your osteoarthritis is in a weight bearing joint you should do activities that are not high impact but golf, bowls etc are all fine. If the physical activity you want to do is knitting and you have arthritis in your fingers you should consider doing exercises for hand osteoarthritis and then you will will be able to knit more comfortably. (Yes knitting is a physical activity- at least for the fingers!)