Take a Walk
Take a Bike Ride
Take a Swim
More than 46 million Americans live with arthritis, and many of them are discovering that moderate exercise improves the way they feel. You can do it, too. Here are some suggestions on how to get started.
Do more than just keep busy.
To improve the way you feel, you have to get your heart rate up and keep it up. That means more than just staying busy. You need to walk, bike, swim, dance or choose an exercise that gets your heart rate up and keeps it up for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week (for a total of 2.5 hours a week). In just 4 to 6 weeks, you'll notice less pain and stiffness. You know you're doing moderate physical activity when you can talk while you're doing it, but you can't sing. Adding strength building exercises 2 days a week can also improve your arthritis.
Start slowly. Warm up and cool down.
If it's been a while since you've done regular physical activity, start slowly and gradually work your way up to 30 minutes a day. Start with 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Let your body be your guide. And remember, some activity is better than none. If you can't carry on a conversation, or if you feel severe pain during the activity, you're probably pushing to hard.
Start and end your activity at a slower pace to give your body a chance to warm up and cool down. For example, start and end your walk with 5 minutes of walking at a slower speed. Some activities may be more comfortable if you start with gentle stretching.
Make it fun.
There's no reason physical activity can't be enjoyable. Join a group exercise program in your community. Take your grandkids to the pool and swim for 20 minutes. Take a 10-minute walk after dinner with a friend. Go for a 15-minute bike ride in the morning and a 15-minute walk in the afternoon with a neighbor.
Choose activities that you enjoy and will do regularly to make being active a part of your life. And keep in mind, strength building exercise can also improve your arthritis.
Don't let arthritis keep you from living the life you want, take charge and show arthritis who's boss! Learn more about how you can take charge of your arthritis through the physical activity and self-management programs offered by the Regional Arthritis Centers. Click here to find a class near you.