4 Useful Exercises for Seniors with Arthritis

Bethesda Health | October 1, 2015

Arthritis can be painful, which is a reason why many seniors with arthritis don’t exercise. They either don’t “want to aggravate it,” or they believe that the exercise will make it worse. However, daily, low-impact exercises can help strengthen joints and improve flexibility, thus improving symptoms. In addition, avoiding exercise can lead to muscle loss and weight, so that should not be considered a solution to avoiding arthritis pain.

Water Aerobics Reduces Stress on Joints

Water exercises are perfect for seniors with arthritis. The resistance of the water helps build muscle while the buoyancy helps reduce the impact on joints. You will want to stand in a section where the water comes up to your chest and then start walking. That’s all you need to do! Try to exercise in a heated pool, as the warmth can help relieve pain. Also, make sure you have a floatation device and someone nearby.

Yoga Helps Reduce Arthritis Symptoms

Yoga is recommended for seniors with arthritis because of its relaxing nature and low-impact movements. In addition to its physical benefits, yoga can help reduce stress related to arthritis. Studies have shown that stress can worsen arthritis symptoms.

Find an instructor who is certified and modifies the exercises to accommodate those with arthritis. Feel free to use props like chairs and blankets. For the best results, practice yoga regularly.

Weight Lifting Strengthens Muscles

Lifting weights can seem intimidating to seniors with arthritis, but it can help strengthen muscles and joints. When your muscles are strong, they help support your joints.

To choose the right pair of light dumbbells, start with a low weight like 2 pounds and try to do 12 repetitions. If you can do so without your arms getting tired, increase the weight until there is some resistance. Complete one set of 12 repetitions at least three times a week, and make sure to target all of your major muscle groups. If you can, have a trained professional help you determine the best weight for you and help you get started.

Stretches Improves Range of Motion

Stretches help improve your range of motion so you can maintain normal joint function. Stretches are easy to do, and can even be relaxing and help you sleep at night.

Before you get out of bed in the morning, take the time to do a few stretches. Doing so will loosen up your muscles and make getting out of bed easier. Don’t forget to include hand stretches in your routine.

Many independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing communities offer wellness programs that include exercises classes. Just remember: if you are having a flare-up, don’t push through the pain. Take that time to rest. Before starting any exercise regimen, talk to your doctor and don’t exercise alone. You should always try to have someone nearby in case you need help to prevent injury.

Discover More Senior Living Tips on Our Blog.

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