Physio shares exercises for arthritis patients – can make ‘huge difference’
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Millions of people in the UK suffer from arthritis and other joint issues.
Depending on the type of condition you have it can cause joint pain, stiffness, swelling and mobility problems.
This can deter many sufferers from exercising, however, staying physically active can actually help lessen the symptoms – according to one expert.
Joanne Fidock, physiotherapy regional lead at Nuffield Health in partnership with Senior Stairlifts, shared her recommendations for arthritis patients with Express.co.uk.
She said: “National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance states exercise is one of the three core treatments for osteoarthritis.
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“It’s tempting when you have a good day to try and get everything done, but this boom of activity is likely to end in a bust, leaving you feeling too sore to do anything the next day – a good approach is to plan the tasks that you need to do a week in advance, and do one thing every day.
“Take the same measured approach to your lifestyle by getting plenty of sleep, eating well and exercising a little every day. Little improvements can make a huge difference to your life.
“The most important thing is to choose exercise you enjoy so you’re more likely to keep it up and can maximise the benefits.
“Keeping mobile is the best protection from stiffness, which leads to more pain. Ideally, you should include a mixture of strengthening, cardiovascular and movement exercises.”
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She shared three types of exercise to try if you have arthritis.
“This type of exercise boosts your heart rate and lung capacity, which is useful because it supports a healthy immune system, helping to reduce inflammation and pain in your joints,” she said.
“Examples include brisk walking or cycling on an indoor bike – which can benefit those with arthritis in their knees or hips because it mobilises the joints while boosting the cardiovascular system.”
Exercising in water
Ms Fidock said: “Exercising in water can be useful, particularly if your condition is really painful, as the water takes the load off the joints, while providing gentle resistance to strengthen the muscles around them.
“Using a warm pool can also be soothing. Examples include normal swimming or if this is too challenging try walking/marching forwards, backwards and sideways in the water.”
She added: “Strength training using either body weight, fixed or free weights can help to strengthen the muscles around joints, leaving them stronger. They can help to build muscle and improve tolerance to load and protect the joints.”
Ms Fidock suggested some strength training exercises to try at home.
Hip bridge – Lie in the sit-up position with your knees and feet together. Press through your feet and raise your hips off the floor as high as you can, hold for five seconds then return to the floor.
Step-up – Place a step next to something you can hold on to – you could even use the bottom step on stairs and hold on to a bannister. Place one foot on the step, holding on if you need to, and raise the other leg, bending your knee to a 90-degree angle. Hold for a second before returning the foot to the ground and repeating on the other side.
Squats – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly pointed outwards. Keep your back flat and chest proud. Push your buttocks back and bend your knees, as if you’re sitting back into a chair. Make sure your heels stay on the ground, you should be able to see your toes the whole time.
Shoulder press – While seated and holding a weight in each hand, push your arms out to the side and over your head, returning them to a starting position of your elbows being in line with your shoulders.
Wall press – Place your hands against a wall at about shoulder height, lean slightly into the wall and perform a press up against the wall.
Bicep curl – Holding a weight in each hand, bend your elbows lifting the weights up towards your shoulder. Return to the start position of a straight arm.
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