Arthritis Exercises for Seniors

If you are one of the millions of seniors who suffer from arthritis pain, you know all too well that arthritis pain makes movement painful. You have all heard the phrases “move or rot” and “move it or lose it.” But that advice is easier said than done when it comes to living with arthritis pain. Even though you may feel like being still and avoiding exercise causes you the least amount of pain, there is much evidence to prove that movement is actually a must in any arthritis pain relief plan. 

If you are avoiding exercise because you don’t want to suffer an arthritis pain uptick or flair up, you should know that movement is going to be your best friend when it comes to arthritis pain relief. Arthritis exercises for seniors should be part of a daily pain reduction regime. Exercise helps you gain strength in your joints and improve your range of motion. In other words, the more you move, the more you can move! When you don’t use your muscles due to arthritis pain it can lead to the loss of muscles in your body and weight gain. Both of these factors can actually increase your arthritis pain overall. 

There are many reasons it can be difficult or unappealing to get an adequate amount of exercise as a senior. Many find it hard to gather the necessary motivation to get up and get moving. But, now you know exercise is the absolute best way you can manage your arthritis pain in combination with any medications your doctor prescribes you. And, since you know that exercise is important and effective when it comes to arthritis pain relief, perhaps you just need a few ideas about exercises that will be manageable given your current level of pain and discomfort and your overall physical health. 

Arthritis exercises for seniors should be fun and manageable. The benefits of exercise to your health is far too huge to ignore! That said, exercise routines are not one-size-fits-all. Finding the right way to move your body is going to go a long way in motivating you to keep it up. Whether you need to stay at home, or you prefer to go out for your exercise, there is something to fit everybody!

3 Key Arthritis Exercises for Seniors

  1. Stretching

Stretching is great for every single body out there, but especially for those living with arthritis pain. Stretching is a wonderful exercise that you can start now without the need to buy any equipment. All you need to get started is a comfortable space and some comfortable clothes. Depending on your mobility, you may start by stretching while standing, or you may start with some chair stretches. Gently moving your body and starting off slow is the key to success. 

You can work your way into holding stretches for longer as your range of motion increases. Stretching really pays off. Stick with it and you will notice reduced pain and increased range of motion. As with any exercise, breathing is extremely important! Holding your breath while you stretch can cause you to overextend and potentially pull a muscle or irritate an existing problem area. So, be sure to breathe throughout your stretches. Stretching can be paired with any of the other arthritis exercises for seniors, and is a wonderful exercise on its own, too!

  1. Walking

Walking is such an advantageous exercise to help you with arthritis pain. Begin your walking routine by stretching before and after if you can! You may be walking indoors on a treadmill or outdoors on a track, trail or sidewalk, depending on your living arrangement and what is available to you. You will need comfortable clothes and a good pair of walking shoes that are nice and supportive. 

To begin your walking routine you can start out with short walks. You will soon find that you can increase your distance and your speed without causing yourself pain. If you experience foot pain or pain in your knees after a good walk, you may want to look for more supportive footwear. 

If you can work up to walking at a fast clip, you might consider adding some small hand weights to your routine! No need to go overboard, just a small weight in each hand can really add a lot to this exercise. 

Many people really enjoy walking and find it calming and perhaps even meditative. If you are one of those people, a walk will not only be great pain management for your arthritis, but it will help with a general feeling of wellbeing. However, if you tend to be a bit bored on walks, try listening to a podcast or your favorite music. 

  1. Weight Lifting

Did you know weight lifting is an important part of arthritis exercises for seniors? Weight lifting helps to strengthen your muscles. When your muscles are strong they are better able to support your joints. Thus, you will find that weight lifting will actually decrease your arthritis pain. 

If you are able to go to a YMCA or local gym, you have the option to meet one-on-one with a trainer for your first visit or two. This is strongly recommended if you have the option. If not, no problem! Many people lift weights safely and effectively right at home. Just start with small weights, maybe two pounds or so, depending on your body and your physical condition. If you have never lifted weights and do not have access to a trainer or physical therapist, you can find exercise videos for seniors online to give you an idea of where to start. 

If you are living with arthritis, targeted exercises are one of the most effective ways to manage pain and regain and retain mobility. Let’s get moving – and be sure to check out our blog post for more fun activities for seniors! More importantly, contact Cano Health for support as you explore different arthritis exercises for seniors.