Full disclosure: I suffer from severe arthritis of the hands. The problem is at the base of each thumb and I get a stabbing pain when I close my hand to turn a key in a lock and button or unbutton something. So, fellow osteoarthritis sufferers, I know your pain. I also know that I sometimes try to avoid certain actions so ‘it doesn’t hurt.’ Not a good idea. Our bodies need motion, especially when we have pains in our joints. It is a bad idea to skip exercise to avoid some pain. Our bodies are organic machines that need to move.
The National Institute on Aging suggests three types of exercise for osteoarthritis sufferers. They are Flexibility, Strengthening and Endurance.
“Flexibility exercises can help keep joints moving, relieve stiffness, and give you more freedom of movement for everyday activities. Examples of flexibility exercises include upper- and lower-body stretching, yoga, and tai chi.
“Strengthening exercises will help you maintain or add to your muscle strength. Strong muscles support and protect joints. Weight-bearing exercises, such as weight lifting, fall into this category. You can use bottles of water or soup cans if you don’t have weights.
“Endurance exercises make the heart and arteries healthier and may lessen swelling in some joints. Try low-impact options such as swimming and biking.
“For people with osteoarthritis, regular exercise can help:
TO Maintain healthy and strong muscles
TO Preserve joint mobility
TO Maintain range of motion
TO Improve sleep
TO Reduce pain
TO Keep a positive attitude
TO Maintain a healthy body weight
As with any exercise program, always talk with a health care provider before beginning and to learn the best activities for you.