The stiffness, swelling, and pain associated with arthritis severely reduce the range of motion of joints; however avoiding physical activity due to pain or discomfort can result in significant muscle loss & weight gain. On the other hand, regular exercise helps improve joint function, increase range of motion, improve flexibility, and maintain a healthy weight. Even studies suggest that older adults with arthritis who exercise are more likely to experience less joint pain than those who don’t.
Typically, low-impact exercises work best for older adults with arthritis. Some of the effective exercises for them include:
Stretching helps reduce stiffness, improve flexibility, and increase range of motion. When done every day, ideally during the morning, stretching can prove to be highly beneficial in relieving arthritis symptoms. An ideal stretching routine is different for everyone depending on which of their joints are affected & what symptoms they have. However, stretching often involves slow and gentle movements of the joints of one’s knees, elbows, and hands.
It is an excellent low-impact activity which stabilizes the joints & strengthens the muscles around them. It is advisable for those who are new to Pilates to use a mat rather than a machine at the beginning in order to build muscle strength safely.
Flowing Movements, Like Tai Chi & Yoga
Both Tai Chi and Yoga involve flowing movements, deep breathing, gentle poses, & meditation; which increase flexibility, range of motion, and balance while reducing mental stress. You can also consider getting a DVD of tai chi or yoga workouts which are specifically for people with arthritis.
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