World Arthritis Day 2023: Physical Activity Aids Arthritis Management And Improves Joint Mobility, Here's How
World Arthritis Day 2023: Engaging in strength training exercises can help build the muscles around affected joints. Strong muscles provide better support to the joints.
World Arthritis Day 2023: Strong muscles provide better support to the joints
Arthritis is a common health condition that affects millions of people globally. Its symptoms are joint inflammation, pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. While arthritis can be a challenging condition to live with, there is a powerful tool that can help manage its symptoms and improve overall joint health: physical activity.
Arthritis involves a range of conditions, with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being the most common types. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time, leading to pain and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an auto-immune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium—the lining of the membranes that surround the joints.
Regardless of the type, arthritis can be debilitating and significantly impact a person's quality of life. Joint pain and stiffness can limit one's ability to perform everyday activities, making even the simplest tasks a challenge.
The Role of Physical Activity
Contrary to the misconception that physical activity may worsen arthritis symptoms, exercise is a key factor in managing the condition effectively. Regular physical activity can help maintain and even enhance joint mobility. When a person moves their joints through their full range of motion, it helps prevent stiffness and maintains joint flexibility. This is particularly important for those with arthritis, as stiff joints can lead to increased pain and functional limitations.
Engaging in strength training exercises can help build the muscles around affected joints. Strong muscles provide better support to the joints, reducing the load placed on them during daily activities. This, in turn, can alleviate pain and improve joint function.
Many individuals with arthritis are overweight or obese, which places extra stress on their joints, particularly the knees and hips. Physical activity plays a vital role in weight management, helping individuals maintain a healthy body weight. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers.
This can help reduce pain perception in individuals with arthritis. Living with chronic pain can take a toll on mental health. Physical activity has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, common comorbidities in individuals with arthritis. The sense of accomplishment from meeting physical activity goals can boost self-esteem and overall well-being.
Types of Recommended Exercises
The type of physical activity recommended for arthritis management depends on individual factors such as the type of arthritis, the severity of symptoms, and overall health. Some of the recommended exercises are:
- Range of Motion Exercises: Gentle stretches maintain or improve joint mobility. Examples include shoulder rolls and ankle circles.
- Strengthening Exercises: Target muscles around affected joints. Start with light resistance and increase gradually. Exercises include leg lifts and resistance band work.
- Aerobic Exercises: Walking, swimming, and cycling enhance fitness and help in weight management. Low-impact options reduce joint stress.
- Balance and Stability Exercises: Prevent falls with exercises like standing on one foot and yoga.
- Flexibility Exercises: Stretching enhances flexibility and reduces muscle tension, such as yoga or tai chi.
- Safety Considerations
Before starting any exercise program, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional, particularly if a person has arthritis. They can provide personalized recommendations and ensure that the chosen activities are safe and appropriate for the body's condition. Additionally, it's important to listen to the body. If a person experiences any pain that is more than mild or lasts beyond the usual post-exercise soreness, they should stop the activity and consult with their healthcare provider.
Physical activity is a powerful tool for managing arthritis and improving joint mobility. It can help alleviate pain, increase joint flexibility, strengthen muscles, and enhance overall well-being. By incorporating a well-balanced exercise routine into your daily life, one can take control of your arthritis and lead a more active and fulfilling life.
Content By: Dr. Ashwani Maichand, Director - Dept of Orthopaedics at the CK Birla Hospital (R), Delhi
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts, or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
DoctorNDTV is the one stop site for all your health needs providing the most credible health information, health news and tips with expert advice on healthy living, diet plans, informative videos etc. You can get the most relevant and accurate info you need about health problems like diabetes, cancer, pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, weight loss and many other lifestyle diseases. We have a panel of over 350 experts who help us develop content by giving their valuable inputs and bringing to us the latest in the world of healthcare.