Exercising With Arthritis

Blog Category: Health

Those with pain and stiffness in their joints often ask me about exercising with arthritis. They’re looking to alleviate their symptoms and find relief.

Physical activity is one of the most effective ways to reduce pain and improve movement in those suffering from arthritis. With the power of exercise, someone with arthritis in their shoulder may improve their range of motion and become able to lift their arm up to put on a shirt.

It’s vital for those who wish to ease their pain and improve their mobility to stay active, these 4 techniques will get you exercising with arthritis.

4 Exercises For Those With Arthritis

1. Toe Touches – back, obliques, core

Starting Position: Stand or sit tall with feet out at shoulder-width apart and arms stretched out to the side at shoulder height.

  1. Bend down and reach your right arm toward your left ankle, get your chest as close as possible to your thigh when reaching for your foot
  2. Lift your back up to the start position
  3. Repeat, alternating sides

2. Clam Shell – knee and hip

Starting Position: Stand tall with feet at hip-width apart.  Hold onto a sturdy object, such as a chair or counter.

  1. Lift up your right knee. Your knee should be bent and your thigh should be parallel to the floor. Attempt to bring the knee up at hip height
  2. With the knee bent, bring the right leg out to the side and externally rotate at the hip
  3. Internally rotate at the hip and bring the leg back in towards the body as it was in step 2
  4. Extend the knee and lower the foot back down to the floor
  5. Repeat 10 times then switch to left leg

3. Overhead Triceps Extension – elbow and shoulder

Starting Position: Stand or sit in a chair with feet hip-width apart.

  1. Hold one arm straight up above your head
  2. Bend behind the upper back towards the shoulder blade, your elbow should be flexed.
  3. Straighten the flexed elbow, raising the arm overhead
  4. Slowly return to starting position
  5. Repeat 10 times then switch arms 

Expert Tip: You may use your available hand to support your elbow throughout the exercise.  With your free hand, grasp underneath the elbow through the flexion and extension movements. Consider holding a weight in the working arm.

4. Finger Lifts – hands and fingers

Starting Position: Sit, place your hands on a table or other flat surface.

  1. Lift your right thumb up off your lap, extending the thumb and pointing it up
  2. Hold the thumb up for a few seconds
  3. Lower the thumb back down to starting position
  4. Proceed with the rest of your fingers
  5. Repeat 1-3 for the right hand, then repeat with the left hand 

Expert Tip: Any fingers that may be immobile, use your opposite hand to assist in lifting that finger up. For added resistance, you may use a rubber band to help strengthen the fingers with this exercise.

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