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Exercise and Arthritis

For a long time, it was thought that people with arthritis should not stress their joints unless absolutely necessary. The assumption was that excess movement, such as engaging in an exercise program, would damage arthritic joints. However, research has since proven that this just isn't true.

People with arthritis can derive a number of benefits from engaging in moderate exercise on a regular basis - increased flexibility, reduced joint pain, and less stiffness, to mention a few. You will also see other common exercise advantages such as weight control, increased endurance, better sleep, higher self-esteem, and a decreased likelihood of heart disease and osteoporosis.

It's not necessary to begin training for a marathon to derive the benefits of exercise. Walking, yoga, swimming or golf are all popular pastimes that can be beneficial to arthritis sufferers. However, if your current level of pain is such that you feel unable to exercise, then look into the water exercise programs offered at many swimming pools. This type of exercise is very gentle on joints because the buoyancy of the water reduces stress.

The three types of exercise you should try to incorporate are flexibility exercises, aerobic exercise, and strength training.

Of course, always consult with your health professional when beginning an exercise program. A Physical therapist can be very helpful, because they can illustrate proper exercise technique (and show you what NOT to do), and can show you how to modify traditional exercises for your situation if necessary.

If you've tried to begin an exercise program in the past and failed, try something different this time. There's enough variety available that everyone can find something that is enjoyable AND beneficial.

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