6 Great Exercises for Seniors with Arthritis Pain
Living with arthritis means that sometimes you may not always be able to do everything you want to do. Flare-ups may keep you from living the active lifestyle you once used to have or dream of.
High-impact exercising may not be in the cards, but there are still low-impact exercises that can be just as effective. Read on to learn about six great exercises for seniors with arthritis pain. In between flare-ups, you'll still be able to work out and see results.
1. Trace the Alphabet
After a flare-up begins to subside, it may take another day or two before you feel ready to go to the gym or get outside. That's okay! It's important that you never push yourself or your body before you're ready and feeling your best.
When you know you can fit in a tiny bit of exercise as you recuperate, trace the alphabet with your feet before and after you watch a TV show. Stand by the edge of the couch, using the armrest for support. Raise one foot a few inches off the ground and start tracing each letter of the alphabet in the air.
If repeated for the first and last few minutes of a TV show, you could get in five to seven minutes of exercise per hour. This routine will strengthen your thigh muscles and abdominals.
2. Sit and Stand
This exercise can work if you're at home or out at the park. All you need is a firm place to sit, like a kitchen chair or a bench.
Sit with your feet flat and directly under your knees. Slowly press your weight into your heels and stand, maintaining a straight back as your arms are held forward. Press your weight into your heels once again as you bend at the hips and sit down. Repeat ten times for a workout that will strengthen your full body.
3. Practice Daily Yoga
Practicing yoga on a daily basis would be a great way to join in on a popular exercise trend without needing to worry about your arthritis. Yoga uses deep relaxation techniques that boost the immune system and reduce joint inflammation.
The only thing to be aware of is that if you're going to join a yoga class outside the home, avoid hot yoga and flow, which tend to increase your body temperature and put more pressure on your joints. Look into trying chair yoga first, where you'll try important stretches that you can use on days where you feel confident enough to move, but may not be able to take on a full exercise routine.
4. Try Water Walking
Walking is an excellent low-impact workout to try, but it can still be difficult during times where your joints are in the most pain.
That's why you should consider water walking. It's an aquatic therapy technique developed for people with arthritis. All you have to do is walk the length of a pool with your feet flat on the pool floor. You can hold onto a flotation device for extra stability. This type of exercise is also great for people who suffer from muscular dystrophy
5. Enjoy Dynamic Stretching
When you want to warm up your body, enjoy some dynamic stretching. It can be done on its own or as the activity that gets you ready for a workout.
Dynamic stretching will look like hip circles, arm circles and even high stepping in place. You should feel your heart rate rise, but you probably won’t break a sweat. Dynamic stretching is good to do if you've just recovered from a flare-up, as your joints will need time to get used to moving again.
6. Lift Light Weights
Light weights are ones that are under five pounds. They're meant to build your endurance over time, without strenuous activity.
You can lift weights at home while sitting down or while in the pool as additional aquatic therapy. Never push your weight limit! Stick with lighter weights and practice bicep curls until you're no longer challenged. That's when you can up your weight by a pound in each hand.
Lifting weights and activities like aquatic therapy may not sound like they’d be easy to do with arthritis, but they're actually great exercises for people who suffer from the condition. Try a few out for yourself when you feel ready, and remember to stay safe while you exercise!
Author: Kate Harveston, Health & Lifestyle Journalist.
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