Exercise Tips for Arthritis Patients

August 16, 2010

The American College of Rheumatology encourages arthritis patients to start moving with four types of exercises to help treat these conditions.

The American College of Rheumatology encourages arthritis patients to start moving with four types of exercises to help treat these conditions.

“People with arthritis avoid exercise for a number of reasons,” said Donna Everix, MPA, BS, physical therapist and Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals member, in a press release. “Some avoid it due to fear of pain or injury, and others avoid if for the same reason many people without arthritis do not wanting to make a lifestyle change.”

Inactivity can lead to “decreased pain tolerance, weak muscles, stiff joints and poor balance.” The exercises encouraged by the ACR are:

Flexibility exercises — help to maintain or improve the flexibility in affected joints and surrounding muscles. Range of motion exercises can be performed five to 10 times daily and stretching exercises can be performed at least three days a week, each stretch held for 30 seconds.

Strengthening exercises - work the muscles and help improve function to help reduce bone loss. A set of eight to 10 exercises for major muscle groups two to three times a week is recommended.

Aerobic exercises — include activities that use large muscles in a repetitive and rhythmic manner. Improves heart, lung, and muscle function. Benefits weight control, mood, sleep, and general health. Examples include: walking, aerobic dance, aquatic exercise, or bicycling.

Body awareness exercises — include activities that improve posture, balance, joint position sense, coordination, and relaxation. These include tai chi and yoga.