Strengthening Exercises For Arthritis

Exercise is inevitable for Arthritis patients as is for everyone. It is just that Arthritis exercise is a bit more specific and strategically planned in order to prevent joint damage and pain. The exercise program of an Arthritis patient should primarily consist of –
Range of motion exercises that give the joints a freedom of motion and flexibility in its pain free range of movement.
Strength exercises that strengthen the joints, muscles and ligaments.
Endurance exercises or aerobic exercises to keep up the cardiovascular health and keep the body active.

There are generally two forms of exercises that actually strengthen the body.

  • Isometric exercise – Isometric exercises tighten and strengthen the muscles without actually moving the joints
  • Isotonic exercise – Isotonic exercises strengthen the muscles by moving the joints.

Under the guidance of a trained physical therapist you can try strengthening exercises like –

Knees – Sit straight up on a chair and extend your legs and tighten your thigh muscles. Then point your toes straight in front of you and then point them up towards the ceiling. Repeat this ten times. Relax and repeat the process for the other leg.

Ankles – Sit straight up over a chair and raise both your feet slightly above the ground. Then rotate your ankles from left to right and right to left.

Abdomen – Lie on your back and bend your knees up and rest your feet flat on the floor. Then slowly raise your head and shoulders above the floor while still resting your lower back on the floor. Hold your head and shoulders right there for ten seconds.

Back – Lie on your back pull one of your knees towards your chest and hold it right there for then seconds. Then extend and rest the leg back. Repeat the same for the other leg. You can also lie on your stomach while resting your palms straight on the floor. Then lift your torso and your elbows from the ground bearing your weight over your palms and forearms. Hold on for ten seconds. Relax back to the original position and repeat the process again.

Shoulders – Raise your right hand towards your back and pat. Take your left hand from below over your lower arm and slide both hands towards each other. Hold your hands for three seconds. Repeat the process by alternating your hands.

Strengthening exercises are fairly easy but you should keep the following tips in mind while exercising –

  • Do not exert your self too much while doing the exercises.
  • Do these exercises at least once in a day.
  • Keep your movements slow, gentle and swift instead of jerky or bouncy.
  • Breathe through your nose as you exercise. Count your breaths.
  • When you begin exercising, begin slowly with a few repetitions. Gradually improve the count.
  • Stop exercising if you feel your joints are being strained more than usual or when you feel pain.
  • Always cool down after exercising.

Till exercising becomes a routine and a habit, keep your motivation high for it even if it means literally forcing yourself.