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Osteoarthritis and Home Exercise

Updated on May 9, 2013

What is Osteoarthritis

Before discussing Osteoarthritis and home exercise let's have a brief idea about Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is joint inflammation.Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is associated with joint degeneration that is break down of joint cartilage. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint but usually it affects weight bearing joints as hips , knees and spines.

Osteoarthritis is so common that it is thought that all people over 60 have some degree of Osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is characterized by joint pain especially on movement.Another common feature of Osteoarthritis is stiffness which occurs after long periods of inactivity.

check with your doctor before starting your Osteoarthritis home exercise
check with your doctor before starting your Osteoarthritis home exercise

Important precautions before starting your Osteoarthritis home exercise program

  • Get medical clearance from your healthcare professional.
  • Stop if you have sharp or unusual pain.
  • Stop if your pain suddenly gets much worse.
  • Stop if your joints swell or become red.

Warm up before your Osteoarthritis exercises

Warm up is important before any exercise , but in the case of Osteoarthritis it is essential .

Gentle slow repetitive movements are best.This should be followed by gentle stretching of major joints. It is OK to feel a little uncomfortable at the beginning but avoid stretching to the point of feeling pain.

Start with three to five movements as:

  • Side to side bends
  • Forward bends
  • Shoulder shrugs
  • Neck bends side to side and front to back

Which type of home exercise is best for osteoarthritis?

Low impact exercises are best , since Osteoarthritis limits joint mobility and resilience , a high impact exercise like jogging or jumping can put the joints under excessive strain and might lead to injury.

Examples of suitable exercises include swimming, walking, stationery bike , yoga, and T'ai Chi.

But to get the full benefit of your home exercise ;program it is better to combine three types of exercise:

  1. low impact aerobic exercises for burning fat.
  2. stretching exercises
  3. resistance exercises

Now let's discuss in more details your home exercises for osteoarthritis

t'ai chi for osteoarthritis
t'ai chi for osteoarthritis

T'ai Chi for osteoarthritis

This ancient Chinese martial art is spreading into the eastern world . It is practiced for a variety of objectives,some use it as a defense tool , while the majority use it for health benefits including improved flexibility, balance,reduce the risk of falls.In addition t'ai chi improves cardiovascular fitness and helps reduce high blood pressure.That is not all, t'ai chi also burns more calories than a lot of high impact sports.

Yoga for osteoarthritis
Yoga for osteoarthritis

Yoga for osteoarthritis

The use of yoga for Osteoarthritis therapy is growing every day. the unique combination of breathing, stretching and toning is invaluable for the osteoarthritis patient.

The full benefits of yoga can be achieved when used cautiously and moving from level to a higher level slowly and methodically .

Yoga not only improves joint mobility but can also retard joint degeneration.

One last word. always involve internal awareness and deep breathing . Don't think of yoga as a regular physical exercise.

swimming for osteoarthritis
swimming for osteoarthritis

Swimming for osteoarthritis

Swimming is one of the best exercises for osteoarthritis.

It is a low impact activity . water takes the load off your joints . and it can burn more calories than many aerobic exercises for burning fat.

Stretching for osteoarthritis

Stretching is important for all people . But when it comes to Osteoarthritis it is vital. Since stiffness and limited joint movement are major complaints in Osteoarthritis, adding stretches to your osteoarthritis home exercise plan makes perfect sense.

Here is a group of the most important stretches:

lat stretch for osteoarthritis
lat stretch for osteoarthritis

Lat stretch for osteoarthritis

Stand with feet wide apart.Put one arm on hip or side of thigh , put the other arm up . lean away from the high arm . Hold stretch for 30 seconds , get back to vertical position then repeat on the other side.

triceps stretch for osteoarthritis
triceps stretch for osteoarthritis

Triceps stretch for osteoarthritis

put right arm overhead ,flex elbow,hold right elbow with left hand, pull right elbow towards your head , hold stretch for 30 seconds , repeat on the other side.

calf stretch for osteoarthritis
calf stretch for osteoarthritis

Calf stretch for osteoarthritis

Stand at arm's length from a wall. lean to the wall . keep right foot on the floor and bend left knee. keep your position for 30 seconds. repeat on other side.

hamstring for osteoarthritis
hamstring for osteoarthritis

Hamstring stretch for osteoarthritis

lie on your back . raise your right leg and keep the left leg on the floor. grab your right thigh below the knee and pull towards your chest . hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

quadriceps stretch for osteoarthritis
quadriceps stretch for osteoarthritis

Quadriceps stretch for osteoarthritis

Stand close to a wall . grab your right ankle and pull back and up till you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh . hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side .

resistance training  for osteoarthritis.jpg
resistance training for osteoarthritis.jpg

Weight training for osteoarthritis

to complete the plan , it is better to add resistance exercises to your home exercise plan for osteoarthritis.resistance training has a lot to offer osteoarthritis patients, for one thing the limited range of motion common in osteoarthritis leads to muscle atrophy and shrinking , this will be counteracted through resistance exercise . in addition stronger muscles will take the load off the joints and ligaments and help you feel better. a third advantage of weight training for osteoarthritis is improved mobility.

Don’t overdo it

a final word on home exercise and osteoarthritis

Tune in to your body. pay attention. push your self a little forward every day . but stop if you feel strange pain.


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