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Benefits of exercise for arthritis

For those with joint problems, getting enough exercise can seem like a real challenge. Arthritis sufferers often think exercise will make their problems worse when in fact, movement and exercise as we know it has many positive benefits. Arthritis sufferers should stick to a balanced exercise program including a combination of three main types of exercise: Range of motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and aerobic exercises.

Range of motion exercises are basic exercises that keep the joints supple by moving them through their full range of motion. A physical therapist or other medical professional can give you specific advice on which joints you should focus on and which range of motion exercises are best for you.

Strength exercises help to maintain and/or increase muscle strength. A balanced strength training program that includes any kind of resistance like, hand weights, exercise bands, or your own bodyweight can be included. A certified fitness professional can help you get started with an appropriate program

Aerobic exercise, such as walking, swiming or cycling, strengthens the heart while making the lungs more efficient and improve stamina. Start slowly and work your way up to longer sessions.

Some of the benefits that can be seen by arthritis sufferers when including a balanced exercise program include:

• Improved health and fitness - Increased energy, improved sleep, weight control, improved cardiovascular condition, decreased depression, improved self-esteem and emotional health.

• Improved overall ability to perform everyday activities.

• Strengthened and maintained bone and cartilage tissue.

• Strengthened muscles around the joints.

Exercise keeps the joints moving. Without exercise many arthritis sufferers may see:

• Loss of mobility in joints.

• Disfigured joints that may lose the ability to be straightened from lack of mobility.

• Pain

• Brittle bones

• Weaker muscles making it more difficult to perform everyday activities with ease such as carrying groceries from you car to your house.

As you can see, if you suffer from arthritis, exercise can greatly improve or maintain your quality of life for years to come. So don't give in, "Keep Moving, to Keep Moving!"

As always, you should check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program and meet with a qualified fitness professional to help you get started with an appropriate exercise program.

Corinna Maggy is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist offering private personal training, classes, and weight management programs. She can be reached at 605-3549 or corinnamaggy@yahoo.com.

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