Which types of exercise are best for your joints?

Contrary to popular belief, patients with stiff, painful joints can exercise safely. A doctor-approved exercise plan can even improve arthritis symptoms by supporting flexibility and strengthening the muscles around the joint. Not all exercises are well-suited to damaged joints, however. An orthopedic specialist or physical therapist at MountainView Hospital can help you transition into a safe and enjoyable workout routine.

Strength training exercises
When performed consistently over time, strength training has the potential to reduce the pain of an arthritic joint .

Your doctor or physical therapist may recommend starting with isometric exercises if the joint is relatively immobile. Isometric exercises involve muscle contraction without joint movement. Two examples are planks and isometric quads.

Once you’ve regained some mobility in the joint, your doctor may suggest that you start using resistance bands, free weights or weight machines. When you lift weight, it’s particularly important to use the right form to avoid placing excessive stress on the joints. Consider enlisting the assistance of a personal trainer.

Aquatic exercises
Aerobic exercises build endurance and improve cardiovascular health. Physical therapists often recommend aquatic workouts for people with arthritic joints. The buoyancy of the water virtually eliminates stress on the joints from body weight, and the resistance of the water builds strength along with endurance.

Swimming laps is a popular choice for patients with joint problems. You could also sign up for a water aerobics class.

Walking routines
A walk a day can help keep orthopedic surgery away—or help you recover from it. You should have well-fitted, cushioning athletic sneakers. You might prefer to walk in the company of a friend or pet.

Start your walking routine by heading out for 10 minutes at a time on a relatively flat course. Aim for a pace that makes you breathe a little heavier, but allows you to still speak. Gradually walk faster and longer, and look for a route with a few gently sloping hills.

Total Joint Program at MountainView Hospital provides a continuum of care for our neighbors in Las Vegas. Our orthopedic and rehabilitation specialists work closely together for your benefit because we’re committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome. Call a registered nurse at our hospital any time at (702) 962-5021.

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