You already know that exercise is good for you. It helps you maintain a healthy weight, keeps your muscles toned, and improves cardiovascular health. But, when your joints are swollen and painful, exercise is probably the last thing you want to do.
At Rheumatology Solutions, our team of experts encourages all of our patients to live as healthfully as possible. We treat numerous conditions that can cause joint inflammation. Regardless of the reason your joints hurt, exercise is likely to be beneficial.
We aren’t suggesting that you sign up for a marathon or become captain of your local master’s swim team. You should look for gentle activities that you enjoy, and you should discuss your plan with your doctor. We can help you identify what’s likely to help, where you should start, and other factors that you can use to make exercise part of your regular routine.
In this post we share five reasons you should consider exercising even if you have joint inflammation.
If you stop exercising when your joints hurt, all the structures that support your joints become weaker — the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Those supporting structures help keep your joints stable, and more stability means less pain.
In addition to providing better joint stability, stronger muscles also help you maintain better posture, which keeps your body in better overall alignment. Poor posture can lead to problems.
One of the hallmarks of joint inflammation is a decreased range of motion. Your knee doesn’t quite straighten, or maybe it doesn’t bend quite as far as it once did. Exercise can help.
Limited range of motion can increase your risk of injury and can keep you from the things you enjoy. Classes like yoga and tai chi can help improve your range of motion, or your doctor can show you exercises that can help. Physical therapy is another option to consider.
Each extra pound you carry exerts pressure on your joints. When your joints are swollen, painful, and weak, that pressure can be painful. Maintaining a healthy weight is a good first step toward easing your joint pain.
Although many people struggle to lose weight, following a nutritious, well-balanced diet and exercising are two of the most important factors when it comes to weight loss.
Exercise can help improve your balance, which lowers your risk of injury. An inflamed, weakened joint is more prone to break if you should fall than a healthy joint. Better balance could prevent the fall and preserve your joints.
Exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, improves bone health. Since joints are made up of bones, it makes sense that exercise benefits your joints. As you age, especially if you’re a woman, your bones become more brittle and more susceptible to breaking. One way to protect them is to participate in weight-bearing exercise regularly.
Are you ready to reap the benefits of exercise? Schedule an appointment at Rheumatology Solutions. Our doctors can help you understand what’s safe for you, as well as how to know you’ve overdone it -- and what to do if that happens.