Get Moving, Even with Arthritis

By Kindred Healthcare
This post is adapted from Insights to Healthy Aging, our Kindred at Home newsletter.

Get Moving Even with Arthritis As many as one in two Americans are expected to develop symptomatic osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, by age 85.

Do you think exercise is out of the question for you or older family members who have osteoarthritis? Actually, exercise becomes more important than ever. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is ample scientific evidence suggesting that exercise can reduce pain and improve function, mood and quality of life for people with arthritis. It may also positively impact the symptoms of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Studies have found that enough evidence exists that exercise is preferable to no exercise for people with osteoarthritis, and that increasing strength, flexibility and aerobic capacity is likely to be most effective in managing lower limb osteoarthritis.

The CDC recommends two hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity per week, or a combination of both. But what kinds of exercise are best?

Low impact exercises – those that involve movements that don’t put direct force on the body) put less stress on joints. Brisk walking, cycling (especially using a recumbent bike) and swimming are a few examples. In fact, a 2014 study found that therapeutic aquatic exercise was effective in managing symptoms associated with lower limb osteoarthritis.

The CDC recommends you be “SMART” about exercising with osteoarthritis.
Start low and go slow
Modify activity when arthritis symptoms increase, try to stay active
Activities should be “joint friendly”
Recognize safe places and ways to be active
Talk to a health professional or certified exercise specialist