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People With Arthritis Should Exercise

Studies have shown that exercise helps people with arthritis in many ways. Exercise reduces joint pain and stiffness and increases flexibility, muscle strength, cardiac fitness, and endurance. It also helps with weight reduction and contributes to an improved sense of well-being. Three types of exercise are best for people with arthritis:

Range-of-motion exercises (e.g., dance) help maintain normal joint movement and relieve stiffness. This type of exercise helps maintain or increase flexibility.

Strengthening exercises (e.g., weight training) help keep or increase muscle strength. Strong muscles help support and protect joints affected by arthritis.

Aerobic or endurance exercises (e.g., bicycle riding) improve cardiovascular fitness, help control weight, and improve overall function. Weight control can be important to people who have arthritis because extra weight puts extra pressure on many joints. Some studies show that aerobic exercise can reduce inflammation in some joints.

There are many types of arthritis. Experienced doctors, physical therapists, and occupational therapists can recommend exercises that are particularly helpful for a specific type of arthritis. Doctors and therapists also know specific exercises for particularly painful joints. There may be exercises that are off-limits for people with a particular type of arthritis or when joints are swollen and inflamed. People with arthritis should discuss their exercise plans with a doctor. Doctors who treat people with arthritis include rheumatologists, orthopaedic surgeons, general practitioners, family doctors, internists, and rehabilitation specialists (physiatrists).

Most experts agree that if exercise causes pain that lasts for more than 1 hour, it is too strenuous. People with arthritis should work with their physical therapist or doctor to adjust their exercise program when they notice any of the following signs of strenuous exercise:

• Unusual or persistent fatigue
• Increased weakness
• Decreased range of motion
• Increased joint swelling
• Continuing pain (pain that lasts more than 1 hour after exercising)

7,476 views | Rating (11 votes)
Comments on The Topic
coralou (Sep 17, 2007 04:07:52 AM) [reply]
discussionI HAVE A PAIN IN MY BACK LOWER TO THE WAISTLINE. THE DOCTORS SAID I AM EXPERIENCING ARTHRITIS. I AM 50 YRS OLD. AND SOMETIMES HAVE TOO MUCH PAIN IN MY BOTH ARMS SPECIALLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PALM. WHAT CAN I DO? I DONT LIKE TAKING DRUGS. PLS HELP ME REDUCE THE PAIN.THANK U

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