I’m currently in the process of moving home, so while I don’t have the time to produce blog posts, James Harper from Provailen.com has kindly contributed this piece on how to use exercise to relieve pain. I’ll let James take over from here…
Just because you have got arthritis doesn’t mean you have to let your fitness levels deteriorate. In fact, new research has proven that exercise can play an important role in managing your arthritis and relieving your pain.
Simply incorporate a moderate exercise regime into your daily routine and you can benefit from: reduced joint pain and stiffness; stronger muscles around your joints and increased flexibility and endurance.
What exercises can I do?
Starting an exercise program can feel daunting, especially if you are in pain; however in the long term you can benefit from a better lease on life.
The trick is to start slow and keep it fun.
Try these exercises to relieve the pain caused by arthritis.
Flexibility exercises: these are important for improving your range of motion. All they basically involve is stretching. The best ones to try are:
– chest and arm stretch (helps improve posture)
– knee to chest stretch (stretches your lower back, hips and bottom)
– overhead reach side bend (maintains spine flexibility)
– quadriceps stretch (stretches your hips, knees and the muscles on the front of your thighs)
– seated butterfly stretch (stretches your inner thighs, groin, hips and knees)
– seated hamstring stretch (stretches your hamstrings, hips, knees and calves)
– triceps press (stretches the back of your arms and shoulders)
Weight and endurance training: these types of exercises (otherwise known as progressive resistance training) are ideal if you are dealing with rheumatoid arthritis as they reduce soreness, stiffness and pain.
By periodically increasing the amount of weight you lift during exercise, this can boost your muscle strength.
For the best arthritis pain relief, we recommend doing the following workout: 3 x 8 bicep curls, 3 x 8 triceps pushdown, 3 x 8 chest press, 3 x 8 seated row, 3 x 8 leg press, 3 x 8 leg extension, 3 x 8 leg curl and 3 x 8 standing calf raise. In addition, to help build your muscle strength, begin by using weight machines before progressing to dumbbells.
Water exercise: this type of exercise is ideal if you are suffering from severe arthritic pain. Water provides 12 times the resistance of air, so you can exercise your entire body without putting stress on your hips, knees and spine.
A popular type of water exercise is water walking. Essentially transferring your walk to the pool, as you try to wade through the water this helps to strengthen and build muscle. And the deeper the water, the more strenuous your workout.
Start by standing upright with your shoulders back, your chest lifted and your arms bent slightly at your sides. Next slowly stride forward, placing your whole foot on the bottom of the pool, not just your tiptoes and bringing your heel down first.
To increase intensity simply lift your knees higher and introduce interval training of pumping your arms and legs faster for a brief period before returning to your normal pace.
Tai Chi: Sun style Tai Chi has been proven to improve your quality of life through its inclusion of agile steps and exercises designed to improve mobility, breathing and relaxation.
It consists of 12 movements (6 basic and 6 advanced) and a warm up and cool down.
Do these exercises work?
Each of these exercises can help you to experience natural pain relief and make living with arthritis easier. Simply remember to start out slow and build up your stamina.
With time you can begin benefiting from improved mobility, reduced inflammation and pain, and most importantly increased muscle strength – essentially everything you need to help you move forward with your life.