Arthritis is an inflammatory joint disease that affects one or more joints of the body. Arthritis generally occurs when one or more of these joints are worn out and unable to sustain the skeleton properly. Its main symptoms include pain, swelling and redness and generally occur in a symmetrical manner (both knees, both elbows and so on). There are over 100 types of arthritis currently known to us, and the most frequently encountered are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, septic arthritis, fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile arthritis and reactive arthritis. Depending on the type, the experienced symptoms may vary in intensity, place of occurrence etc.
Sadly, there is no known cure for arthritis. However, fortunately for thus of us battling this unpleasant disease, there are certain ways to cope with it and diminish its symptoms. The purpose of arthritis treatments isn’t to cure the disease, but rather to relieve pain, swelling and stiffness of the joint and help the patient regain his or her mobility and increase the overall quality of life. If the treatment plan is designed according to the patient’s symptoms and needs, chances of success are very high and their life will be back on track in no time.
The most popular treatment forms are, of course, pharmaceutical drugs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Another important factor is maintaining a healthy diet. An appropriate and effective physical exercise plan is also crucial in helping relieve the symptoms of arthritis. This article will deal with some of the most popular and effective forms of exercise that can help you if you are suffering from this unpleasant condition.
Individual Fitness Activities
Fitness is a great option if you wish to relieve the symptoms of arthritis in a generally enjoyable manner. Many individual fitness activities that help relieve arthritis pain and joint stiffness also have the potential of becoming pleasant ways to spend your free time and can even turn into hobbies. One of the most popular activities in this category is biking. Biking is a great option because it is very easy and accessible. You don’t even have to own a personal bike, especially if you live in European, given the fact that most major European cities offer the option to rent a bike for a day, free of charge, or for a very modest fee.
Other popular activities that fall into this category are hiking, running, walking and swimming. Sports like golf and tennis are also great options, as long as you don’t start them too abruptly. All in all, there are a lot of individual fitness options that you can take up if you wish to relieve the symptoms of arthritis. You could even include more than one of these and alternate between them, as to not get bored too easily. If you are unsure which one of these is right for you, make sure to check in with your physician and create an appropriate treatment plan together.
Group Fitness Activities
Group fitness activities are perhaps the most popular at the moment, and not only among arthritis patients. Some of them, and especially ones based around Oriental spirituality, like yoga and Tai Chi, have become very trendy over the last decade. But perhaps the most widely encountered activity of this type that also happens to be very beneficial for those suffering from arthritis is aerobics. Although aerobics can be very demanding, they are very effective in relieving arthritis pain and joint stiffness. Various types of dance will have a similar effect.
Another group activity that can help with the symptoms of arthritis is one that may not necessarily cross our minds in this context, namely martial arts. Even though they might not be everyone’s cup of tea, martial arts are a great sport that is very efficient in relieving pain and stiffness, while simultaneously teaching valuable self-defense skills that you can benefit from. Pilates is also a very popular and on-trend group fitness activity that has similar effects. Therefore, you needn’t worry. Whatever your personal needs might be, surely you will find some form of exercise, or, why not, a combination of more, that will work wonders for you.
Hitting the gym every once in a while in order to buff up is not uncommon nowadays, who doesn’t want to look good in the summer? But strengthening activities are also very beneficial if you want to relieve the unpleasant symptoms of arthritis. The gym has a myriad of options to offer if this is the type of activity you think is the most appropriate for you and your needs. Things like exercise balls, free weights, resistance bands, weight machines and other body weight exercises are very effective in diminishing joint pain and stiffness in arthritis patients. And, as a bonus, your body will be to die for in a couple of months.
Cardio is another very popular physical activity that is not only trendy, but also very beneficial if you are suffering from arthritis. Machines like the stair stepper, the stationary bike or the treadmill are great way to go if you are spatially limited but still want to do some active and fast-paced exercising. For example, if running is your thing but you have no appropriate routes in an accessible area, you can always hit the treadmill and get similar effects. The same goes for biking versus the stationary bike, and so on.
All in all, if you are planning to include some form of physical exercise into your arthritis treatment plan, the conclusion is that there is plenty to choose from. It doesn’t matter if you are an indoor or outdoor type of person or if you prefer dynamic or static types of exercise, you can surely find something in this list that is right for you and your needs. As always, make sure to check with your doctor in order to choose the most appropriate form of exercise for you. An informed decision is the best kind of decision you can make in any health-related issue.