May is a month to get moving! As National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, it’s a great excuse to enjoy the nicer weather and improve your overall fitness. Even if you have a lower limb condition that makes normal exercise more difficult, like arthritis, you can still enjoy activities. Actually, exercise is very healthy for arthritis and can help improve your uncomfortable symptoms—if it’s done safely.
Arthritis is the inflammation and deterioration of joints. The disease slowly stiffens and breaks down the protective tissues between bones. It causes pain anywhere it develops, but in the feet it can impair your mobility. Because of this, you might be tempted to move as little as possible.
This temptation is actually a huge mistake. Exercise is important and beneficial for feet with joint inflammation, since it increases strength and flexibility, and even reduces some pain. Refusing to move only allows your feet to stiffen faster, instead of keeping them movable. The key to exercising well with arthritis (so that you don’t hurt yourself) is to do so safely.
Here are a few basic safety tips:
- Go slow – Adjusting to new activities can be hard on joints, so start slowly and build up over time.
- Adjust for pain – Modify your activity accommodate pain. This could mean adjusting the intensity or frequency of your workouts, or even changing activities altogether.
- Stick to low impact – Stick to exercise that’s easy on the joints! Biking, swimming, water aerobics, and yoga are good choices.
- Wear the right shoes – How your feet are supported makes a difference for pain. Wear styles that cushion your sole and support your arch to absorb shock for you.
- Warm up – A warmup is one of the most crucial parts of an exercise regimen. It helps your body prepare for activity so you don’t injure yourself.
- Cover all your bases – Strength, flexibility, and cardio are all important. Mix up your activities so you work on all three.
Exercising safely is possible, so don’t stay still and let arthritis stiffen and limit your joints! Just take it slow and stick to exercises that won’t injure your feet. Dr. Rick Martin and Dr. Keith F. Tyson at Martin Foot will help you establish a fitness plan that meets your needs. We can also help you manage your lower limb arthritis in other ways. Just use the website or call (717) 757-3537 to make an appointment at our offices in Hanover, Lancaster, Lititz and York, PA.
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