It goes without saying that as you get older, your body does not operate as smoothly and efficiently as it did in your younger days. Degenerative conditions, such as arthritis, are common particularly in older populations who are either overweight or were previously very active.
What is arthritis and how can you manage it so it doesn’t affect you from exercising and being active well into your later years?
Arthritis is commonly described as “wear and tear” of the joints. Years of activity can cause the cushioning between the joints (cartilage) to erode causing the ends of the bones to rub against each other causing discomfort, joint locking and pain.
How do I reduce the effects of arthritis?
1) Reduce impact training
With a lack of cushioning between the joints, high impact exercises such as running and jumping can cause jarring and pain around the knee and ankle joints as well as the low back – not ideal for someone looking to exercise regularly. If you are one of those people who enjoys a jog now and again, try exchanging your running shoes for a bike instead, which will provide less impact through the joints and will strengthen the surrounding muscles providing increased stability.
2) Improve joint strength
The symptoms of arthritis can be greatly reduced by improving the muscular strength and stability around the joint in question. If you are suffering from arthritis and the surrounding muscles around a joint aren’t working properly, the grinding and rubbing sensation can be greater as the muscles aren’t securing the joint in place.
Look to implement isometric-based exercises and stability exercises to re-condition dormant muscles which surround the joints. It can’t be stressed enough that exercises should be pain-free and any exercises which cause aggravation should be avoided. This, in accordance with a whole body strength routine, should help to rebuild and relay those strength foundations and get your body moving again.
3) Improve joint mobility
Pain caused by arthritis can cause joints to seize up therefore affecting movement. Simple pain-free movements can increase the production of synovial fluid in the joint, which can act as a lubricant allowing the joint to move more comfortably and without pain.
If you are currently taking part in an exercise program, a longer more mobility-based warm up might prove beneficial to help improve joint function and get you moving.
4) Lose weight
If you are carrying a few pounds too many then maybe it’s time to rethink your lifestyle for the sake of your joint health. Carrying excess bodyweight can place unwanted stress on the joints causing discomfort and pain.
If you feel that arthritis is the reason why you can’t lose weight due to lack of activity, then look to start with some very gentle exercise. A simple walk round the neighbourhood could be the first step to shedding some unwanted baggage and making your joints feel much healthier. Diet should also be taken into account. Eating a little less and cutting out the junk will make a massive difference to both your joint health and general health.
Arthritis is a potentially debilitating condition which can leave people apprehensive about taking part in an exercise program. However, with an appropriate strength training routine and sufficient mobility training, the effects of arthritis can be greatly reduced leading to improved joint health and wellbeing.
If you are suffering from the effects of arthritis and are nervous about making things worse, get in touch today and we can design a progressive program to help ease the symptoms of arthritis and improve your health. Call 02920 617710 or email: [email protected]