Surprisingly, many seniors who have arthritis think they should no longer exercise. Some feel the pain is just too much and to exercise would hurt their joints. However, exercising is one of the best things they can do to boost their health. Those with arthritis quickly lose flexibility if they don’t exercise. The right exercises can build muscle, decrease stiffness in joints, minimize fatigue, and elevate mood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Exercise is also good for the heart, making it stronger while lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The best plan is to work on losing weight at the same time—a 10-pound weight loss will reduce knee pain (or other joint pain, such as in the hips) by as much as 50 percent and delay the chance of joint replacement. The CDC urges low-impact exercise combined with stretching exercises that enhance joint function. Doing 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise five times a week—all at once or in 10-minute increments—is the ideal recommendation. It’s best to check with a doctor before your senior loved one starts an exercise regimen.
Managing the symptoms of arthritis can be challenging. If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior family member and are looking for professional elderly home care, Home Care Assistance should be your top choice. Our dedicated and compassionate caregivers are committed to helping older adults address their health issues and enjoy a higher quality of life in the golden years.
Here are some suggested types of exercise that are beneficial for seniors with arthritis.
There are two types of resistance training: isometric (contracting the muscle without moving the joint) and isotonic (strengthening the muscle by moving the joint). A physical therapist or personal trainer can make sure each move is done correctly at home or in a gym.
Tensing muscles and then relaxing them can strengthen muscles without the risk of pain that may come from regular strength training. One example is an isometric chest press. Hold the arms at chest level and press the palms of the hands together as hard as possible, then hold the press for 5 seconds and rest for 5 seconds. Repeat for a total of 5 repetitions, building up until the press can be held for 10–15 seconds at a time.
Using free weights, machines, or elastic bands several times a week can significantly strengthen muscles, which increases joint support.
Water doesn’t put any pressure on joints, and it feels great. Water aerobics classes provide a fun workout (often to music) combined with some resistance training. Warm water also raises body temperature, which increases circulation.
Seniors who need assistance with activities such as swimming should consider professional in-home care. University Park respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.
Just going out of the house each day and walking around the neighborhood can boost heart and lung strength as well as overall endurance. Placing the body’s weight on bones and joints builds bone density. The National Arthritis Foundation has an online walking tool, “Walk with Ease,” that provides tips and routines.
This ancient Chinese exercise system can strengthen muscles while increasing flexibility, balance, and range of motion. Its slow-moving poses, circular movements, and breathing techniques also provide mental calmness. People with arthritis enjoy tai chi because it’s low-impact and can be done inside or outside.
Yoga exercises can ease stiffness and tension in muscles and joints. The deep breathing techniques used in yoga can also calm the mind and body.
Stationary or Outdoor Cycling
Getting on a bike—outdoors or indoors—can enhance hip, knee, and heart function. This low-impact exercise should be started in short time cycles and lengthened as endurance gets stronger.
It’s never too late to start an exercise program that can lessen the pain of arthritis. With so many varied choices, there’s something for everyone
When living with arthritis, staying physically active is important for enjoying a high-quality life. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of University Park senior home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping. To learn about our premier in-home care options, give us a call at (214) 363-3400 today.