Essential Tips to Maintain Joint Health
The number one rule to keeping joints healthy is to stay in motion. More movement means less stiffness.
Joint pain may be brought about due to several reasons: sprain, injury or disease. When it comes to rheumatoid arthritis, it is smart to start exercising moderately. It’s crucial to avoid extra injury or strain caused by overexertion.
The joint pain and discomfort that you are feeling because of your RA may be discouraging, but make no mistake; being active is one of the best things that you can do for your body. You just need to exercise within your limits, and here’s how:
Maintain a healthy weight
Body mass affects pressure on the knees, hips, and back. Therefore, if you are suffering from joint pain and discomfort as a result of your weight, losing a few pounds can help take some of that pressure off. However, before resorting to any dietary measures, talk with your doctor. Together, you can determine how you can best maintain a healthy weight for your individual situation.
Warm up before exercising
Before participating in any physical activities, even taking a walk, you should warm up your body with a few stretching exercises. It is best to stretch on a daily basis or at least three times per week. Flexibility allows you to move better. By lightly stretching your muscles, you can relax your joints and prevent any unwanted injuries.
Perform low-impact exercises
For individuals coping with RA, the best exercises are low-impact exercises, such as swimming, walking, and bicycling. They are less stressful on your joints, but they are still effective in burning calories and getting your heart pumping.
Stretch your muscles
With the help of a physical therapist or certified exercise trainer, you can find exercises that are right for you and build on your muscle mass. The stronger your muscles are, the better support they will be able to give your joints. You’d be surprised as to how a little increase in muscle strength and flexibility can go a long way in alleviating pressure on your joints and helping you to maintain normal joint mobility.
Tighten your core muscles
Your core muscles, including your abdominal muscles, your back muscles, and the muscles around your hips, help your balance. By strengthening them, you can avoid the likeliness of falling over or getting injured. So, consider incorporating core-strength exercises, such as yoga or Pilates, into your daily or weekly routine. These exercises are a great way to build up your core muscles, improve your stability, and protect your body from sustaining injuries.
Work on your range of motion
RA associated with joint pain and stiffness can greatly reduce your joints range of motion. What’s more, avoiding physical exercise because of any pain or discomfort you may be feeling can lead to extreme muscle loss and weight gain. If your joints are too stiff, it is important that you get back as much of your range of motion as possible. With the help of a physical therapist, you can develop a balanced program designed specifically for your individual situation. In turn, you can alleviate the damaging impact of arthritis, educate yourself on approaches to pain relief, and improve your joint mobility.
Maintain proper posture
In order to protect the joints that run along from your neck down to your knees, you should make it a habit of standing and sitting up straight. Improving your posture can help to ease joint pain and stiffness, allowing your muscles to move more freely.
If you choose to participate in any contact sports, such as skating or tennis, then you need to make sure to wear padding. Elbow pads, knee pads, hip pads, helmets, and more, are all designed to prevent you from bruising or injuring yourself. Since RA is already affecting your joints, wearing comfortable padding contributes to your safety. The more padding, the better (but do not go overboard).
Read on for even more tips on maintaining and improving joint health with RA.