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Arthritis-Friendly Exercises to Stay Fit

Arthritis is more than just your typical joint pain, contrary to what many people might believe. Rheumatoid arthritis in particular is a progressive disease that can affect any part of the body, including the eyes, mouth, skin and lungs. From carrying out everyday household chores to walking and climbing stairs, these seemingly simple activities can prove to be a challenge for those with some form of arthritis.

As one form of arthritis treatment, exercises play a crucial role in restoring the joints’ functionality and improving flexibility, mobility and strength. Below are some arthritis-friendly exercises that will help patients manage their arthritis symptoms better.

Yoga

As a low-impact exercise that improves both physical and psychological health, yoga’s combination of meditation, stretching and breathing activities help patients cope better with arthritis-related pain, stress and depression. Chair and water yoga are particularly effective for those with arthritis, as these facilitate strong blood flow while still supporting the body’s weight and minimizing pressure placed on the affected joints.

Isometric Exercises

This set of exercises is a good alternative to weight training and provides an effective way to build and strengthen muscle without moving or straining the joint much or at all. Aside from enhancing strength, isometric exercises also improve flexibility and mobility. Examples of isometric exercises include planking, squatting and palm presses.

Swimming

One of the gentlest yet most effective forms of treatment for arthritis, swimming provides just the right amount of resistance to make the muscles stronger, while the water’s buoyancy supports the body’s weight and minimizes the strain applied on the joints. Additionally, it fosters relaxation and reduces stress. Swimming is an especially recommended type of rheumatoid arthritis treatment, helping the patient cope with flares characterized by joint pain and stiffness.

Walking

There are numerous benefits associated with walking, including building endurance, maintaining a healthy weight, and developing better sleep quality and a more positive mood. For people with arthritis, walking is a safe, simple and low-impact exercise that provides a full workout not only to the muscles, but the heart and lungs as well. It is found to reduce pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints.

Aerobic Exercises

Aerobic exercises build endurance, improve cardiovascular health and increase the body’s energy and stamina. These include walking, swimming, cycling, and even golf, all of which are low-impact sports that give a full workout while still being gentle on the joints. As muscle strength increases, it is important for the intensity level of aerobic exercises to increase proportionately. For this reason, a person with arthritis should ideally engage in an aerobic exercise routine as prescribed by a doctor or physiotherapist.

Specializing in a wide range of rheumatic disorders, A/Prof Leong Keng Hong provides a range of services to help patients manage joint pain, stiffness and swelling associated with various forms of arthritis. For more information, contact us at 6472-4337 or fill out our enquiry form.

About Our Arthritis Specialist

A/Prof Leong Keng Hong is a senior consultant Rheumatologist at Gleneagles Medical Centre and Adjunct Associate Professor, Yong Yoo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. He founded the Osteoporosis Society (Singapore) in 1996 and served as its President until 2004. He was also the Inaugural Chairman of the Chapter of Rheumatologists, College of Physicians, Academy of Medicine, Singapore from 2004-2007 and its current Chairman until 2013.

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