Do you ever wake up with stiff joints or feel aches and pains that just won’t go away? You’re not alone. These are common symptoms of arthritis, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. But here’s the good news: exercise can be your secret weapon to reduce those annoying symptoms and improve your quality of life.
First things first, let’s demystify arthritis. Arthritis is not just one condition; it’s a term that encompasses over 100 different types of joint-related disorders. The most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis: This is like your joints’ wear and tear over time. It happens when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones deteriorates, leading to pain and stiffness.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease. Your immune system mistakenly attacks your own joints, causing inflammation and pain.
Now, let’s dive into how exercise can help you fight back against these arthritis symptoms.
Keeps Joints Moving: When arthritis strikes, you might want to curl up in bed and stay still. However, that’s a bad idea. Exercise actually helps maintain and even improve joint function. Moving your joints through their full range of motion can prevent them from getting stiff and creaky.
Strengthens Muscles: Your muscles act as natural shock absorbers for your joints. By exercising regularly, you’ll strengthen these muscles, which can reduce the stress on your joints and help alleviate pain.
Pain Relief: Believe it or not, exercise triggers the release of feel-good chemicals called endorphins. They work like natural painkillers, reducing the discomfort associated with arthritis.
Weight Management: If you have arthritis, extra weight can make your symptoms worse, especially for weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, reducing the strain on your joints.
Improved Balance: Some exercises, such as yoga or tai chi, enhance your balance and coordination. This reduces the risk of falls, a significant concern for people with arthritis.
Less Inflammation: Arthritis often comes with inflammation. Regular exercise can help reduce this inflammation, which in turn, eases your symptoms.
Better Quality of Life: Ultimately, exercise can make your daily life more comfortable. It can help you do everyday tasks with less pain and enjoy activities you love without worry.
SUMMARY: Exercise can indeed be seen as medicine for our bodies. Just like the right prescription from a doctor can help treat and prevent various health conditions, regular physical activity offers a wide range of health benefits and can play a significant role in promoting overall well-being.
Activities that involve a lot of impact and stress on the joints should be approached with caution. These may include activities like running, jumping, and high-impact aerobics. The repetitive impact can worsen joint pain and discomfort. Definitely avoid jumping lunges, deep squats and burpees as these can put a lot of strain on the knees.
Avoid lifting weights and instead focus on body weight, as this is kinder on the joints and helps prevent wear and tear.
One of the most critical things to remember is not to push through pain. If an exercise causes significant joint pain or discomfort, stop immediately. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.
REMEMBER OUR BODIES ARE AMAZING AND MOVEMENT IS ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO LOOK AFTER YOUR JOINT HEALTH.