Many Saratogians with moderate to severe arthritis are inactive. Prolonged periods of inactivity, however, will often make your joints more stiff and painful. But in most cases you can and should exercise on a daily basis. In fact, recent research has shown that older people with arthritis gain significant improvement in physical function, pain, flexibility and overall mobility when participating in long-term exercise programs.
Below are three critical steps to starting an effective exercise program.
- First, pick an activity that you enjoy doing and perform it regularly. Make your exercise program as pleasant as possible. If you feel exercise is a chore, you will be uncomfortable with the program and quit. If you can, ask a friend to exercise with you so you can support and encourage each other.
- Second, begin your exercise program gradually, starting with five minutes of your chosen exercise each day. As you become more comfortable with the routine and notice positive effects of being fit, you may increase the exercise time.
- Third, develop a plan to exercise every day and stick with it. Make your exercise program an integral part of your normal daily activities. Research shows that "functional exercises", those that mimic daily activities such as walking up stairs, carrying a laundry basket and mowing the lawn can be quite effective.
Hope this helps! Dr Matt Smith-Chiropractor