Learn More About Arthritis and How You Can Benefit from Exercise

World Arthritis Day is October 12


Arthritis impacts more than 50 million Americans, including 300,000 children in the United State. World Arthritis Day is held annually on October 12. Many of our YMCAs programs can be beneficial in helping to stay healthy. Exercise doesn’t reverse damage that’s already done. But it helps prevent arthritis from getting worse, and it has the added benefit of keeping excess pounds off. That can make a huge difference on the joints that support most of the body’s weight: the hips and knees.

Moving is essential if you are living with arthritis! Exercise helps to limit the pain and improve joint motion. It also boosts energy levels, improves strength to support your joints, and prevents falls and future injuries. Movement helps your joints be healthier.

Those dealing with the ill effects of arthritis may worry that a walk will put extra pressure on their joints and make the pain worse. But it has the opposite effect. Walking sends more blood and nutrients to your knee joints. This helps them feel better.

Walking is one of the most important things you can do if you have arthritis. It helps you lose weight or maintain the proper weight. That, in turn, lessens stress on joints and improves arthritis symptoms. Walking is simple, free and almost everyone can do it.

The Arthritis Foundation shares that keeping arthritic joints supple by staying as mobile and as active as possible is important because it can reduce your pain, help you to stay independent and improve your self-confidence. Many people are afraid to exercise because they believe – mistakenly – that it’ll cause further damage to their joints.

For people with arthritis, exercise can be hugely beneficial for relieving pain and joint stiffness. People with arthritis who exercise may find that they have less pain than those who do not. Exercise can reduce painful symptoms, improve joint function and flexibility, increase range of motion, and boost mood.

Our YMCA offers many ways to keep your body healthy and the following types of exercise may help relieve the pain, joint stiffness, and other symptoms that arthritis can cause. Check out our current offerings of active older adult group exercise classes or even some of our specialized healthy living classes like Walk with Ease or Enhance Fitness.



(As always it is best to seek medical advice before starting any exercise program and work with a doctor and a physical therapist to develop a tailored exercise plan. Our personal trainers can incorporate your health care providers’ suggestions into a wellness plan you execute at the Y):

Stretching can help improve flexibility, reduce stiffness, and increase range of motion. Stretching daily is important for relieving arthritis’ symptoms. The ideal stretching routine will be different for each person and depend on which joints are affected and what symptoms occur. However, stretches often involve slowly and gently moving the joints of the knees, hands, and elbows.

Walking is a low-impact form of exercise that can help with aerobic conditioning, heart and joint health, and mood. Walking is an excellent form of exercise. It’s low-impact, and because it’s a weight-bearing exercise, it helps strengthen muscles and build bone. It is essential to wear proper shoes and stay hydrated, even if the walking is not strenuous. It is often sensible to walk slowly initially and then increase the pace when possible. During inclement weather, our walking tracks can make this form of exercise easy and convenient!

Flowing movements, such as Yoga and Tai Chi
Both yoga and tai chi combine deep breathing, flowing movements, gentle poses, and meditation. They increase flexibility, balance, and range of motion while also reducing stress.

Pilates is a low-impact activity that can increase flexibility for enhanced joint health. It can be helpful to do Pilates poses that activate the core muscles and emphasize movements that help with stability. Pilates can be good for overall movement patterns, similar to yoga and tai chi.

Water Exercises
Water helps support body weight by minimizing gravity, which means that water exercises do not impact heavily on the joints. Swimming, water aerobics, and other gentle water exercises can increase flexibility, range of motion, strength, and aerobic conditioning. They can also reduce joint stress and stiffness.

As arthritis increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, it is vital to keep the heart as healthy as possible. Cycling can help improve cardiovascular function. Riding a stationary bike can be a safe way to get the joints moving and improve cardiovascular fitness. In addition to improving aerobic conditioning, cycling can reduce stiffness, increase range of motion and leg strength, and build endurance.

Strength Training
Strengthening the muscles around the affected joints can help increase strength while reducing pain and other symptoms of arthritis.

YMCA of the USA has shared this website as a good resource to learn more about arthritis and current arthritis research to understand the causes, prevention and development of new treatments https://curearthritis.org/


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