TREATMENT OPTIONS

Exercise

One of the best things you can do for yourself, whether or not you have arthritis, is to get regular exercise. You don’t have to run a marathon or bench-press your body weight to see its benefits. Something as simple as walking, gardening or taking a water exercise class at your local community center can help ease pain, stiffness and joint mobility problems. Talk to your doctor or health care professional before you begin an exercise program.

Regular exercise has a number of benefits for people with arthritis. It can help you:

  • Keep your joints moving, which increases their range of motion and helps ease stiffness
  • Strengthen muscles that support the joint, lightening the load that fragile joints must bear
  • Keep bones strong and healthy, which reduces your risk of osteoporosis
  • Help you perform your daily activities more easily and, perhaps, maintain your independence until late in life, despite arthritis
  • Maintain your weight or lose weight, which can limit excess pounds and lessen stress on weight-bearing joints, such as the hip and knee
  • Increase your energy and improve your sleep, both of which can be affected adversely by a chronic, painful disease like arthritis
  • Ease pain, by prompting your body to produce its own natural painkillers called endorphins
  • Improve your self-esteem, by showing you that you can be strong and active, despite arthritis
  • Become healthier, by reducing your risk of such problems as heart disease

Sourced from:
The Arthritis Foundation’s Guide to Managing Your Arthritis, by Mary Anne Dunkin, copyright ©2001, Arthritis Foundation