If the snap, crackle, and pop of your knees put your breakfast cereal to shame every morning, you may need some help combatting the swollen, stiff joints every arthritis sufferer knows so well.
Arthritis causes inflammation and swelling in your joints—the area at which two bones meet—like your knees or elbows. As the disease progresses, your joints can become damaged and more painful, limiting your flexibility and ability to move easily.
You don’t have to take it lying down. Although, at first, you may want to. Moving more, getting more active and, yes, getting more exercise (isn’t that always on the list!) can all help slow the progression of arthritis and the toll it takes on your health.
Here are some ways you can combat stiff joints and add movement to your day.
1. Make mornings the cat’s meow
Starting your day with a few good stretches can help keep you limber throughout the day. Just look at how well it works for your cat.
Do a simple yoga routine, touch your toes a few times, bend, reach, and stretch. Just five or ten minutes every morning helps make stiff joints move easier with less pain.
2. Dive right in
Swimming or water aerobics is a great way to slow the effects of arthritis and battle stiff joints. The water’s buoyancy relieves the pressure on your joints and helps you move more freely. Added bonus if the pool has warm water that eases your body’s stiffness and inflammation. And even better if it’s in a tropical location where you can relax!
3. See a physical therapist
Physical therapy can be an integral part of your arthritis treatment. A physical therapist can develop a treatment plan that includes exercise, massage, stretching, and other treatments focused on helping you move more freely and without pain. If you don’t have one, ask your doctor for a recommendation.
4. Get up and dance
Recent studies show that dancing for 45 minutes twice a week can lead to reduced pain in your hips and knees. So, turn up the music, put on your dancing shoes and improve your mobility as you tango, jitterbug and waltz your way to feeling better.
5. Walk it off
You’ve heard it before a million times, but it’s still true. Walking is one of the easiest ways to add movement to your day. It’s also one of the most effective ways to improve health and wellness.
Walking just 30 minutes a day on a regular basis gives you countless health benefits. It improves your mood, helps you lose weight, and strengthens the muscles around your joints. Walking boosts your creativity, aids digestion, and makes your legs look good. Convinced yet?
Before you begin a new exercise program or increase your activity level, talk to your doctor. Exercise is a great way to fight stiff joints and the impact they have on your daily life, but you don’t want to overdo it and aggravate your condition. Your doctor can help you get started.
Looking for a primary care doctor to help you fight the effects of arthritis and stiff joints? You can find a doctor using one of the regional directories below, or you can search for a doctor that’s right for you in our provider directory.