There are millions of adults in the U.S. who are living with arthritis, and for some it can be debilitating. If you have arthritis, you may have discovered the older you get, the more difficult it becomes to climb stairs or even move about your Kansas City home.
Even though it’s probably the last thing you feel like doing, exercise is the best way to keep those joints mobile and even alleviate your pain. That’s because exercise:
- Lubricates your joints
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Improves your balance
- Helps control your weight (taking pressure off your joints)
If you’re not sure where to begin your exercise program, here are some steps you can take to get started:
Step 1: Talk to your Kansas City doctor. Ask your rheumatologist, orthopedist, or primary care physician (whichever doctor you normally see for your arthritis) if he or she has an exercise plan that’s geared toward people with arthritis. Also, make sure your doctor gives you the okay to begin exercising.
Step 2: Determine the type of exercises you need. The information you got from your doctor should help. Make sure your exercise program includes:
- Aerobic exercise (e.g., walking, swimming, bicycling, stair climbing)
- Strength training (e.g., hand weights, wall push-ups, resistance bands)
- Mobility exercises (e.g., stretching, tai chi, water exercises)
- Anything else your doctor recommended
Step 3: Join a Kansas City community center with an indoor pool. Preferably one that includes water exercise classes with membership.
Step 4: Control your pain. You want to make sure you’re not going to be in severe pain when it’s time to exercise. So try to plan your exercise program around the times when your arthritis medications are most effective.
Step 5: Start slowly. You want to eventually do at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week, mobility exercises daily, and strength training three days a week. If you can’t do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at once, break it up into 10 minute intervals. Or start with what you can do and work your way up.
If any exercise seems impossible to you due to limited mobility, start with some simple chair exercises that will help make you stronger and improve your flexibility. These can be done from your Kansas City home.
Step 6: Get help. If you’re unable to exercise at all due to limited mobility, enlist the help of a Kansas City home health agency. The agency can also help you with other mobility-related issues, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, light housekeeping, and meal preparation.