Staying Fit with Arthritis
Get tips for starting and sticking with an exercise routine to help you stay healthy when you have arthritis or a related condition.
Tips for Approaching Your Workout
It’s especially important if you’re just starting to work out. Ramping up slowly not only helps to avoid injury and exhaustion, but it also increases your chances of sticking with your routine.
Some discomfort is normal when exercising, but it should be minimal – about a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10. If you experience more discomfort or a sharp feeling, stop. You may need to do decrease your time and intensity and slowly build it up. You can get much of the same benefits from three 10-minute walks as you can from one 30-minute walk.
Working out with a friend can help keep you on track with your fitness goals. Studies show that, in addition to the social benefits, exercising with others can provide motivation and help keep you accountable.
Modify moves, and if possible, equipment to meet your specific needs. For example, many exercises can be done while seated as opposed to standing, which can prove helpful on days when you have more pain and/or less energy. Equipment modifications could include using a slightly deflated exercise ball to make it more stable to lie on, or wrapping jump ropes, dumbbells or other handles in foam tape, like tennis grip tape, to make them easier and more comfortable to grip.
Our feet swell as we walk and work out, so it’s best to shop for fitness footwear after we’ve been on the go for a while. Choose shoes with solid ankle support and shoes should be comfortable immediately and require zero “break-in” time.
Look for a physical therapist or certified personal trainer who has experience working with others who have arthritis. They can help with modifications and create a workout customized to your needs.
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