Sometimes, when arthritis is flaring, it is difficult for many of us to workout the way we’d like to.
However, doing simple range-of-motion exercises is crucial for joint health. These types of stretches and exercises can be as gentle or as intense as you’d like them to be, and they are very important for keeping joints mobile and flexible.
Ask your rheumatologist or physical therapist to show you some range-of-motion exercises, and try to do them daily, as they are very important.
For years, it was thought that people with arthritis should not exercise, because it was feared that this would damage the joints; but doctors and scientists now know that when the arthritis is udner contol, people with arthritis can improve their health, fitness, and mobility by doing exercises and stretches — without damaging the joints. We need to exercise to prevent joints from becoming even more stiff, to keep the muscles that support our joints and bones strong, to keep cartilage healthy, and to become more fit overall. (It should be noted that maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for controlling arthritis pain, too.)
But, when it is too difficult to do any kind of intense workout, what can we do? Again, the answer is simple: stretches and range-of-motion exercises.
Range-of-motion exercises are those that help with mobility and flexibility. Without these kinds of range-of-motion exercises, blood flow and flexibility (i.e. the moving and bending) of your joints can further decrease and become even more stiff, and less mobile.
Even if you are in bed or in a wheelchair, range of motion exercises and stretching can be done. If you’re unable to walk, swim, do yoga, or lift weights, doing these kinds of milder exercises will suffice. Physical activity is your friend, and, something is always better than nothing. In fact, according to the Arthritis Foundation, “these gentle stretching exercises should be done every day and are the most important of all your exercises.”