-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise is a good way for
people with arthritis to control pain and improve physical
function, says an expert.
"People who have arthritis are often scared to exercise because they think they will hurt themselves, but the condition will only get worse if people don't get moving," Valerie Walkowiak, medical integration coordinator at the Loyola Center for Fitness in Maywood, Ill., said in a news release.
"The best way to start is to talk to your doctor about exercising and then work with a therapist or personal trainer to establish guidelines. Be proactive, and take it one step at a time," she advised.
Exercise offers a number of benefits for people with arthritis,
including: increasing muscle strength and endurance to improve
joint stability; preserving and restoring joint motion and
flexibility; and boosting aerobic conditioning to improve mental
health and decrease the risk of other diseases.
About 50 million adults in the United States have arthritis,
according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form. It occurs when
cartilage deteriorates, leaving nearby joints with no cushion
between bones. Many people also suffer from rheumatoid arthritis,
which occurs when inflammation in the joint causes it to lose shape
The best type of exercise program can depend which form of
arthritis a person has, but some workouts benefit all patients.
All arthritis sufferers can benefit from stretching to increase
range of motion around an affected joint, Walkowiak said. "The type
of stretching one should do depends on which joint is
Arthritis sufferers may also want to try light weights a few
times a week to build muscle strength and low-impact aerobic
exercise such as walking.
"Start slow, with 10 to 15 minutes of aerobic exercise every other day, to see how it impacts your body," Walkowiak said. "As your body adapts to the new routine, gradually increase duration to 30 to 45 minutes."
Other good exercises can include water aerobics, stationary
cycling, gardening, swimming, yoga and Tai-Chi.
The Arthritis Foundation has more about
exercise and arthritis.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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