The recent Walk to Fight Arthritis, part of a national effort to raise awareness about the millions of Canadians who suffer from this disease, brought together walkers and bikers of all ages and conditions in Collingwood. The walks have raised over $5 million in the last few years. Many of the participants have arthritis themselves. You may think it is too difficult to exercise with arthritis, but the benefits are clear.
The best way to ease your stiff, painful joints is actually to keep them moving. That doesn’t mean you should go out and run a marathon, but gentle, persistent exercise can do wonders to keep you mobile. It helps strengthen the muscles and bones, keeps ligaments and tendons limber, builds your endurance, and helps your balance. The trick is to know your limits.
Start by consulting Chiropodist Tony Abbott before you begin an exercise program. As a runner, he can give you helpful information about how your muscles and joints will react to different activities, and which type might work best for you. Some people do better with bicycling or swimming, but everyone can benefit from a brief walk, stretching, and range of motion movements.
Warm your muscles first with a warm shower or warm towels and then do gentle range of motion exercises. Follow with strength training or aerobic activities, but start slowly. A five-minute walk every day is a good way to start. Increase either the length or intensity every few days, but take a day off if you hurt more than usual. If you notice that your joints are red or swollen, you’re overdoing it. Finish your session by icing any painful joints to keep down swelling and pain. You can check out instructor-led classes at the Aquatic Center for other options.
Having arthritis doesn’t have to mean resigning yourself to stiff joints and years of inactivity. For more information about how to exercise with arthritis, contact Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic in Collingwood, ON, by calling (705) 444-9929 or using our contact us page.
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