December 22, 2014

Joint problems – how can exercise help?

By Stuart Smith – Personal Trainer sat Kingfisher Health Club

Exercise is crucial for people with specific joint problems such as arthritis. It improves strength and flexibility around the affected joints, which helps to reduce pain and fatigue. Of course the thought of walking, cycling or swimming when you have painful joints may scare you….but consider this fact: Lack of exercise may actually make your joints even more painful and stiff!

Always Consult Your Doctor First

Talk to your doctor about how exercise may affect your condition and if it is an option for you. Common causes of joint pain include:  inactivity, ageing, bad posture, old injuries and of course Arthritis. Your doctor may be able to offer you a GP referral prescription and send you to see a qualified referral instructor. I am the GP referral instructor at Kingfisher Health Club; feel free to pop in for a chat or call to get advice how to get started on our GP referral scheme.

How Exercise May Help:  Ignoring the pain and being inactive won’t make it go away and you will still feel discomfort in certain movements. Limiting your movement and activity levels may actually weaken your joints and surrounding muscles. But the right set of exercises can be a long lasting way to tame joint pain. In time you may be able to restore flexibility and increase activity levels and even avoid or postpone surgery on your affected joints.

Don’t overdo it: You may feel some pain or discomfort after exercise. If this pain lasts for more than a couple of hours you probably trained too hard. Ask your doctor what pain is normal and what pain may be a sign of injury.

The type of exercises you could do include:

Range of movement exercises help relieve stiffness and increase mobility of the joints to help them get back to their full movement. The exercises themselves are usually quite simple and can normally be incorporated into a daily routine.

Strength exercises are needed to help build strength in the muscles surrounding the affected joint, which can reduce overall pain. Routines that involve light weight exercises are advised as they will help maintain and increase the development of muscle around the affected areas.

Aerobic exercises have many benefits including weight management, resulting in less stress on your joints, and fitness gains, which will help you to feel more active. Popular exercises include cycling, walking and swimming. 20 to 30 minutes three times per week is advised, this can be broken down further to 10 minutes blocks if required.