Arthritis and Exercise Advice for Babyboomers
Many of the Toronto based clients that Vintage Fitness works with suffer from Arthritis of various kinds—it is often the condition that keeps them inactive and worried about causing more joint pain. Exercise will reduce arthritic pain by strengthening the stabilizing muscles around the affected joint and keep the joints from stiffening up.
The Mayo Clinic has written a good Do’s and Don’ts list for Arthritis sufferers:
Do some gentle exercise in the evening; you'll feel less stiff in the morning. When you're technically doing nothing — watching TV or sitting at your desk, for instance — be sure to:
• Adjust your position frequently.
• Periodically tilt your neck from side to side, shake out your hands, and bend and stretch your legs.
• Pace yourself. Take breaks so that you don't overuse a joint and cause more pain.
When you have arthritis, movement can decrease your pain, improve your range of motion, strengthen your muscles and increase your endurance.
What to do
• Choose the right kinds of activities — those that build the muscles around your joints but don't damage the joints themselves.
• Focus on stretching and strength training.
• Include low-impact aerobic exercise, such as walking, cycling or water exercises, for improving your mood and helping control your weight.
What to avoid
• High-impact aerobics
• Repeating the same movement, such as a tennis serve, again and again
• Inactivity, which can lead to muscle atrophy and further decrease joint stability
Several medications are available for arthritis pain relief. Most are relatively safe, but no medication is completely free of side effects. Talk with your doctor to formulate a medication plan for your specific pain symptoms.
What to do
• First, rest. Mild, occasional pain may need nothing more than rest and the application of cold or heat. Rest the painful joint, and apply cold packs to relieve pain or hot packs to ease stiff and achy joints and muscles.
• For occasional pain. Take over-the-counter (OTC) acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or aspirin tablets every four hours to relieve occasional pain triggered by activity your muscles and joints aren't used to — such as gardening after a winter indoors.
• For longer periods of pain. Take OTC ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) or naproxen (Aleve, others) a day for one or two days if pain related to unaccustomed activity persists. Follow the dosing directions on the package. Ibuprofen and naproxen are classified as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) because they reduce inflammation as well as pain. Technically, aspirin is also an NSAID, but it's typically used for purposes other than reducing inflammation.
• When you anticipate pain. Try taking one dose of acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen a few hours before you start an activity that's likely to cause joint pain.
• When pain persists. Consult your doctor if these medications aren't relieving your pain.
If you are based in the Toronto area including Etobicoke, Oakville, Mississauga or Newmarket, over 50 and would like a personalized exercise program to help to reduce your arthritic pain call Vintage Fitness at 416-951-7978.
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