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Exercising with Arthritis: Getting Started

Manage Symptoms with Physical Activity


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  • This article was timely! DH has been struggling with arthritis related pain for a little over a year now. Unfortunately, his primary care practitioner simply told him to exercise. The tips shared here are specific, helpful and appreciated.
  • I used to control my weight by daily visits to the gym. Then came weight gains following extended recovery periods after each surgery or injury. I now weight more than when I joined spark, and walk with a walker. Activity is painful and exercise has slowed. Lately I've been trying to remember some of the exercises Physical Therapy taught me that target specific areas. I am ready to check out the recommended exercises in this article. I see many of the comments are several years old, so I'm glad this article has resurfaced to the Start page today.
  • Robyn319, can you ask your doctor for a swimming exercise program? Water will help take the weight off your hip. I once exercised using a step, but caused damage to a knee. So it is best to be careful. I now am more careful about tracking my food on the SparkPeople site and just walking around my neighborhood. Plus, drinking the 8 glasses of water a day. That is working so far. I'm considering asking my RA specialist for a swimming program, though. Just don't like the inconvenience of going out during the winter. But it's a commitment, isn't it? Not quite there, but my app't is in another week. I'll work up to it. Writing to you helps me firm up my resolve :)
  • ROBYN319
    I've just been told I have hip arthritis with spurs and a cyst...hip replacement going to be in the future. I need to loose about 50 pounds and walking seems to inflame my hip. I ride a stationary bike for 45 minutes and do pilates for 1/2 hour, and stretching but can't seem to take off weight. I eat pretty healthy, but nothing seems to work. I was on the right path over a year ago dropping 30 lbs. by walking when I started having hip and thigh pain. Anyone have any tips on exercising with hip pain?
  • This is a great article. I have bursitis in my left help and I learn to exercise through the pain. It's getting better everyday.
    One article says avoid weight bearing exercise with arthritis and one says do it. One article says do lunges and one says dont. Most articles i have read said to avoid weight bearing exercise with arthritis.
    I hope these help my knee because sometimes when I exercise it hurts really bad.
  • KTK19147
    Good job, Jen, getting the word out about the benefits of exercise when one has arthritis.
    I must admit as a scientist that I was confused in first reading the article however b/c of your incorrect usage of "positive relationship between arthritis and exercise".

    There's actually a NEGATIVE relationship between these b/c as exercise goes up, arthritis PAIN goes down. This is therefore an inverse or negative correlation/relationship. A positive relationship would be as one goes up, the other does, too (or down, the other goes down, too)

    I think what you're trying to say is that there's a positive EFFECT on arthritis pain when you exercise.

    Just trying to clarify it from scientific terminology standpoint so people don't get the wrong idea and think there's something bad about exercising when you have arthritis pain. I try to encourage all my patients to exercise b/c it's wonderful all around for most things.

    Thanks for all you do in spreading the great word about exercise and its manifold benefits.
  • DONNA558
    I pretend I am a TickleMe Plant - It is the only house plant that moves when you Tickle It
    The leaves fold and the branches bend down when Tickled! Search TickleMe Plant to grow your own. If you pose like one, you may find it is a wonderful and relaxing therapy as well and itmay ease some of the pain.
    Joining this message board I can get some tips from all of you on what I can do. I have bad knee's. I have already had MRIs, taken steriods and waiting on a followup with my orthopedic doc. Because nothing has helped. Before the injury I was in a bootcamp class 3 days a week. Now I have a knot on the back side of my knee and a bruised feeling on the outer side of the knee. Not sure what will have to be done, since the MRIs only showed inflammation. None of the remedies have worked and I'm tired of not being able to workout, much less walk around for more than a couple hours. I am needing to workout, but everything seems to revolve around working the knees. Any suggestions? (also have limted use of my left wrist, so pressure on the wrist has to be modified at times). Signed...falling apart at 40.
  • On Tuesday, August 17 I will be going into the hospital for knee replacement surgery.
    I decide to have one knee done and later the other.

    Does anyone have any words of wisdom..... I really could use some.

    I may or may not go into rehab for a week. It all depends on the therapists. I am hoping for rehab in order to give my husband and our daughter a break.
    I have Osteoarthritis, I've had a total knee replacement. I've also been diagnosed with Polymyalgia Rheumatica. Before that, exercising was really hard. I'm in Physical Therapy right now, doing both water and land therapy. I've been put on Prednisone, and for the first time in months, I'm beginning to feel better and am able to exercise more without so much pain. Praise God! I look forward to getting involved with the SparkPeople to keep my motivation and lose weight and keep it off. Thank you so much for this site.
    Jen, thank you for this article! I've been doing physical therapy for my arthritis (mostly in my hip) for quite some time, and it really helps. At first, I thought, "This hurts! How could it be good for me?" but I just had to move past the initial stiffness and weakness. You give some great advice here! - Susan
  • Hi! I too am troubled with osteo arthritis.... I am in physical therapy due to some heart related issues and the exercise has helped me go from being in a wheel chair to walking with a cane....Also it has helped me with some much needed weight loss. After I do the exercise, I am so sore the next day I can hardly go...but by the next day I have started to feel better. It is not an easy task so this support is much needed and very appreciated!
    I have rheumatoid arthritis in my hands, but it has stabalized with medicine. I now have osteoarthritis in my left foot. It is very hard to think exercise when you have pain in your foot. I really need motivation.

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