Don’t Let the Cold Freeze Your Joints, Get Moving! Best Exercises for OA Pain.

One of the most common misconceptions for people suffering with Osteoarthritis is that they should not exercise for fear of making their condition worse. This is totally false! In fact, quite the opposite is true. Research has shown that exercise is actually the most effective non-drug treatment for improving movement and reducing pain caused by osteoarthritis. The best way to approach your exercise plan is to incorporate three important types of exercise – range of motion/flexibility, aerobic/endurance, and strengthening – into you daily routine.[1] Let’s take a look at a couple in each category that you can start doing today!

Range-of-Motion/Flexibility

Range-of-motion or flexibility exercises are something you should try to do every day. They can be a great way to reduce some of the stiffness you feel after long periods of inactivity, such as when you wake up in the mornings or when you’ve been sitting at your desk all day. The aim of these exercises is to feel a slight stretch. Some discomfort is normal, but if you feel pain stop. The goal would be to do each exercise 10 times, but don’t overdo it!

Ball Kicks: Start out by sitting in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Raise one leg as though you are trying to kick a ball and slowly begin to straighten your leg. The aim is to get your foot in line with your knee and make a parallel line with the floor, stretching out your knees. You may not be able to do this right away, but that’s okay you’ll get there!

Leg Raises: This is very similar to the ball kicks. Instead of sitting in the chair, stand and hold on to the back of the chair or counter top. Then, slowly lift your leg in front of or behind you until it is parallel with the floor stretching out your hips this time. Again, this can be difficult to do at first! So, lift your leg as high as you can without causing pain and keep working at it![2]

Aerobic/Endurance

Aerobic or endurance exercises are recommended to do at least three times a week in 30-50-minute sessions. These exercises can help strengthen you heart and lungs which reduces fatigue and builds stamina. Getting your heart pumping helps to burn calories and control weight too!

Walking: Walking can give you a lot of the same benefits as running or jogging but is low impact making it easier on your joints. Remember if you’re walking outdoors this winter bundle up, or just walk on your treadmill inside while catching the latest episode of your favorite show!

Swimming: Swimming is an excellent form of low impact exercise. The water provides resistance and helps support your weight, taking pressure off of your joints and reducing stiffness. All water-based exercises are ideal for osteoarthritis pain. They can range all the way from swimming laps alone, to taking a water aerobics class, to just walking around inside the pool. Whatever is most comfortable for you and remember to keep pushing yourself to do better![3]

Strengthening

Strengthening exercises are also very important and should be worked into your routine about three days a week alternately with your aerobic exercises. The stronger your muscles are the more support you have for your joints. These exercises should be practiced with caution as they could cause injury. However, if done intelligently, can greatly reduce your osteoarthritis pain. Ideally you should strive for 10-12 reps of each exercise, but only do as much as you are comfortable with.

Lunge: Start by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart. Place one hand on a chair or rail for support and take a big step back landing on the ball of your foot. Then, slowly lower your body as close to the floor as you comfortably can making sure your front knee does not extend past your toes. Pause at your lowest point then press through your front heal to bring your back foot forward to return to your starting position.

Dead Bug: For this exercise start out with a mat on the floor. Lie flat on your back with your arms extended directly above your shoulders and your knees bent so that your shins are parallel to the floor. Keep your core tight and the small of your back pressed again the floor. Slowly lower one leg and the opposite arm behind you toward the floor. Pause, then bring them both back to your starting position. Repeat for the other side.[4]

Don’t let the cold freeze your joints this winter, get moving! Start incorporating these moves into your work-out routines today. Remember to protect yourself and work out smart. Don’t push yourself too far, but always strive to improve. Consult your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

Stamford Therapeutics Consortium is currently conducting a research study for pain associated with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. If you are suffering from this chronic pain and are unhappy with your current treatment options sign up today to see if you may qualify. Qualified participants may receive the study medication and all study related care at no cost. Compensation is also provided after each completed visit. Click here to learn more: http://www.stctrials.com/currently-enrolling-clinical-trials/#!/study/33

[4] https://www.silversneakers.com/blog/strength-training-for-seniors/

[3] https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/ss/slideshow-active-living

[2] https://creakyjoints.org/diet-exercise/range-of-motion-exercises-for-arthritis/

[1] https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/benefits/exercise-knee-osteoarthritis.php