Exercise and arthritis

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Exercise can be divided into three types which will play a role in reducing the pain and disability associated with arthritis.

Stretching or toning exercises. These low intensity exercises should be performed daily to maintain or improve the body’s range of motion. They form the foundation of most therapeutic exercise programmes. Building flexibility improves function and reduces the likelihood of injury. Try tai chi, yoga or calisthenics.

Muscle conditioning. These exercises are more vigorous and will build strength and endurance when they’re done every other day. They require more from the muscles by requiring them to lift the weight of the limbs or trunk against gravity, or increase resistance using elastic bands or weights. Within a short time the muscles adapt to the extra load. Try the Pilates programme, playing golf or walking.

Cardiorespiratory or aerobic conditioning. This involves using the large muscles of the body in repetitive, rhythmic movements and results in improved heart, lung and muscle function. It’s also good for controlling your weight and has been shown to improve mood by promoting the release of endorphins, the body’s "feel-good" hormones.

Visit the Arthritis Centre for more information.


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