Health

Ex­er­cise can be an ef­fec­tive way of deal­ing with arthri­tis symp­toms

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Contents - BY FLAN­NERY DEAN

MYTH 1 YOU CAN’T EX­ER­CISE

If you have arthri­tis, the right fit­ness pro­gramme could help you get re­lief from your symp­toms by im­prov­ing strength, flex­i­bil­ity and range of mo­tion.

TIP Ex­perts rec­om­mend at least 30 min­utes of mod­er­ate-in­ten­sity ex­er­cise five days a week. Dust off your bike, buy a new bathing suit, start strength train­ing – get mov­ing in ways that bring you hap­pi­ness.

MYTH 2 EX­ER­CISE PRO­DUCES JOINT PAIN

The more seden­tary you are, the more things are go­ing to hurt. Ex­er­cise helps by build­ing strength and flex­i­bil­ity and con­trol­ling weight. One less kilo­gram on the scale equals four kilo­grams less pres­sure on your knees. To keep your body happy, es­pe­cially when you’re start­ing out, al­ter­nate easy

days with more chal­leng­ing days. Swim or use an ex­er­cise bike when pain is more both­er­some.

TIP To help with painful, swollen knees, wear a brace. Stiff­ness could be a sign you need to start mov­ing to lubri­cate your joints. Al­ways con­sult a health­care pro­fes­sional be­fore start­ing an ex­er­cise regime.

MYTH 3 PAIN IS AL­WAYS A BAD THING

It’s bet­ter to re­gard pain as a sig­nal to pay at­ten­tion. Pain re­liev­ers can help re­lieve sore­ness af­ter ex­er­cise; tak­ing them be­fore­hand may mask the in­struc­tive sen­sa­tion you need to feel so you can judge when to stop.

TIP Stop what you’re do­ing if joint pain in­creases af­ter five or ten min­utes. Burn­ing dis­com­fort in the mus­cles, how­ever, is a good thing.

MYTH 4 EX­ER­CISE PUTS JOINTS AT RISK

Ex­er­cise strength­ens jointsup­port­ing mus­cles and in­creases flex­i­bil­ity, which all im­prove qual­ity of life.

TIP Stud­ies show weight-bear­ing ex­er­cise­– walk­ing, jog­ging or lift­ing weights – pro­duces the health­i­est knee car­ti­lage. If sore joints are im­ped­ing your work­out, you can still head for the pool, where you can jog, squat and do lunges in the wa­ter.

MYTH 5 FOL­LOW A RE­STRIC­TIVE REGIME

Low-im­pact ac­tiv­i­ties such as swim­ming, cy­cling and walk­ing are ex­cel­lent op­tions. Lis­ten to your joints and make ap­pro­pri­ate mod­i­fi­ca­tions.

TIP As a rule, walk, don’t run if you have os­teoarthri­tis, and avoid high­im­pact, twist­ing rac­quet sports.

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