Why Exercise is So Important when You Have Arthritis

When you’re in pain, it may seem counterintuitive to flex and move the muscles and joints that hurt, but the right activities can do wonders for your arthritis. Keep in mind that it’s important to choose your exercises carefully. The right ones will improve your body’s functionality and reduce your pain; the wrong ones will do the opposite.

Dr. Jay Shah at the Samwell Institute for Pain Management can set you up with an individualized exercise plan designed for your unique set of arthritis symptoms. As a leader in interventional pain management, his highest priority is to relieve your pain so that you can live your life to the fullest.

He starts by getting to know you and your personal journey with pain. He then develops a customized plan using innovative pain relief interventions that lead to your overall wellness. Often, that plan includes a strategic approach to exercise that tackles arthritis pain in multiple ways. Here are some of the top benefits of exercising with arthritis.

Strengthens muscles around your joints

When your arthritis pain flares up, the best thing to do is to rest and reduce inflammation. But the worst thing you can do is to stay sedentary all the time. Inactivity makes you weaker and less stable.

Dr. Shah advises his patients to follow a very specific exercise routine designed to strengthen the muscles without harming your joints. A strong muscular support system protects your joints and takes some of the stress off them, which reduces both inflammation and pain.

Improves range of motion and flexibility

Your painful, stiff joints often prevent you from moving freely, and an unused joint begins to lose its function, especially if you have osteoarthritis. That’s because your joints rely on regular compression and decompression to keep up their cycle of repair and regeneration. 

Rest is important for those joints when you’re having a flare-up, but when you can tolerate it, moderate exercise and stretching is vital to keep them from getting worse. However, because your arthritic joints are compromised, you can easily overstretch them and do more damage, so make sure you check with Dr. Shah before starting any exercises to see what’s best for you.

Increases bone strength

Arthritis takes a toll on your whole body. There’s a lot of talk about joints and cartilage, but one area often gets overlooked — your bone health. The effects of chronic inflammation and even some medications can speed up bone loss.

Fortunately, exercise can slow down that process and even help build bone. Whenever you engage in activities that exert pressure on your bones, you trigger the production of extra calcium and signal your bone cells to regenerate. Dr. Shah can help you find exercises that restore your bones and protect your joints.

Promotes a good night’s sleep

It’s hard to sleep when you’re in pain, which is unfortunate because lack of sleep makes your pain worse. If you’re sleep-deprived, your central nervous system processes pain differently than when you’re well-rested. Exercising regularly may help you break this unhealthy cycle.

Participating in regular aerobic exercise has been shown to help people fall asleep faster and enter into the all-important deep sleep needed for the body and mind to repair and regenerate. 

Helps you lose weight

Losing weight is not only a good idea for your overall health, it’s also key to treating your arthritis pain. Proper diet and exercise can help you reach your goals and reduce pain. Here are some of the benefits of losing weight if you have arthritis:

Boosts mental and emotional state

Because there’s a connection between arthritis and depression, it’s important to do all you can to care for your mental and emotional well-being. Exercise has been shown to have immediate positive effects on mood, such as lessening anxiety and promoting relaxation. In the long run, it can help keep depression at bay.

When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called endorphins — your body’s “feel good” molecules. They naturally suppress pain, reduces stress, and give you a feeling of euphoria or happiness — exactly what you need to combat your arthritis. 

It’s critical to note that if you have any type of arthritis, you should always consult a qualified health care professional before embarking on any exercise routine. Once you do, you should start slowly and listen to your body. New exercises may challenge you, but they should never cause you pain. Done right, they can be the best thing you do to manage your arthritis pain.

When you’re ready to incorporate exercise into your arthritis pain management plan, call us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Shah or book an appointment online.

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