Exercise has important health benefits for everyone — regardless of age and physical condition. But for people with arthritis, exercising regularly — and within your limits — is critical. It increases strength and flexibility, reduces pain and helps combat fatigue. Exercise also can help you maintain a healthy weight, which is important for your joints.
The irony, of course, is that when you have a disease that causes pain and stiffness — such as arthritis — physical activity and exercise may not seem that appealing. When your body already aches, the thought of walking or swimming might make you cringe.
A 1998 survey by the Arthritis Foundation revealed that 70 percent of respondents with rheumatoid arthritis give up exercise when their disease is at its worst. Unfortunately, that’s the wrong thing to do. When your condition threatens to immobilize you, exercise keeps you moving.
(Source: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). www.mayoclinic.com)