If you suffer from painful arthritis, you may often feel like curling into an immobile ball. Don’t, the Arthritis Foundation says, as regular exercise works to alleviate arthritis pain as well as offer a host of other benefits. Ideal exercises for arthritis sufferers include those that don't put a lot of strain on your joints, such as swimming, bicycling and treadmill walking.
Exercise has myriad benefits for the arthritis sufferer, the Mayo Clinic and the Arthritis Foundation note. General benefits include increasing your energy, keeping your weight in check and improving your sleep. Benefits that particularly apply to people suffering from arthritis include keeping your bones strong and making the muscles around your joints stronger and more supportive. In addition to relieving your arthritis pain, exercise also works to get rid of the fatigue and immobility common with arthritis.
Walking on a treadmill provides a low-impact aerobic exercise ideal for people with arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation reports. Treadmill walking puts less stress on your joints than other aerobic exercise like jogging, running or jumping rope. In addition to helping with your arthritis, low-impact aerobic exercise also gives your respiratory system and overall stamina a boost.
While traditional treadmills have a hard, solid deck, others feature a deck that suspends the rubber into a trampoline-like surface to put even less stress on your joints. The Arthritis Foundation reports that a traditional treadmill does the job as long as you use it safely.
Safely using a treadmill means knowing how the machine works before you get on it and following a few other tips offered by the Arthritis Foundation. Stretching before walking is a must, as is using a slower pace to warm up and cool down on the treadmill at the beginning and end of your workout. Keep your feet safe with supportive shoes that have closed toes. Moving your arms at your sides, rather than grabbing onto the treadmill bars, keeps your posture erect and prevents potential injuries by ensuring you can keep up with the speed.
Arthritis Exercise Tips
Pushing yourself too hard too quickly only serves to further hurt your joints, the Mayo Clinic warns. Arthritis sufferers exercise most effectively and safely when they first warm up with some range-of-motion exercises for at least five minutes before getting on the treadmill. This involves moving a joint through its full range of motion, such as rolling your shoulders forward then back. Applying a warm towel or other heat source to your joints for 20 minutes or so before you exercise also helps. Finally, take a break, or stop the exercise altogether, if you start to get any pain.