Quick Tips: Exercising Safely With Arthritis
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to help prevent arthritis from getting worse. It can help keep your muscles strong and reduce joint pain and stiffness. And it can help you reach and stay at a healthy weight.
But you want to make sure that you don't hurt your joints when you exercise. Before you get started, ask your doctor what kind of activity would be good for you.
These tips can help you exercise safely:
- Pace yourself, especially if you haven't exercised for a while. Start slowly, and don't push yourself too hard. Then work your way up to where you can exercise for a longer time or do the exercise with more effort.
- Use medicine. If your joint pain gets worse after exercise, you may want to take an over-the-counter pain medicine before you exercise, such as acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen (for example, Advil or Motrin), naproxen (for example, Aleve), or aspirin (for example, Bayer or Bufferin). After you're done, ice the joints that hurt.
- Rest your joints if they are swollen. For example, if your knees are swollen, don't use the stairs for a few days. Walk a shorter distance, and switch to swimming or riding an indoor bike.
Know when you have sore muscles and not joint pain. If your muscles are sore, you can safely exercise through the soreness. (You could exercise through joint pain too, but it's not safe to do so.)
If you have joint pain that lasts for more than a day after you exercise, you need to:
- Rest the joint until your pain gets back to the level that is normal for you.
- Exercise for less time or with less effort.
- Try another exercise that doesn't cause pain.
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|Osteoarthritis: Exercising with arthritis|
Other Places To Get Help
|American Occupational Therapy Association|
|4720 Montgomery Lane, P.O. Box 31220|
|Bethesda, MD 20824-1220|
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is the nationally recognized professional association of approximately 35,000 occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and students of occupational therapy. AOTA's mission is to advance the quality, availability, use, and support of occupational therapy through standard-setting, advocacy, education, and research on behalf of its members and the public.
|1330 West Peachtree Street|
|Atlanta, GA 30309|
The Arthritis Foundation provides grants to help find a cure, prevention methods, and better treatment options for arthritis. It also provides a large number of community-based services nationwide to make living with arthritis easier, including self-help courses; water- and land-based exercise classes; support groups; home study groups; instructional videotapes; public forums; free educational brochures and booklets; the national, bimonthly consumer magazine Arthritis Today; and continuing education courses and publications for health professionals.
|National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), National Institutes of Health|
|1 AMS Circle|
|Bethesda, MD 20892-3675|
|Phone:||1-877-22-NIAMS (1-877-226-4267) toll-free
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) is a governmental institute that serves the public and health professionals by providing information, locating other information sources, and participating in a national federal database of health information. NIAMS supports research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases and supports the training of scientists to carry out this research.
The NIAMS Web site provides health information referrals to the NIAMS Clearinghouse, which has information packages about diseases.
|Editor||Katy E. Magee, MA|
|Associate Editor||Michele Cronen|
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Last Updated||November 4, 2009|