Dr. Nikhil Pandhi
At North Point ORthopaedics

The Importance of Exercising When You Have Arthritis

Feb 20, 2023
The Importance of Exercising When You Have Arthritis
Your arthritic joints ache so much you can hardly bear the thought of movement. So why are we recommending more exercise? Keep reading to discover why getting yourself up and moving could be a game-changer for your joints.

You have over 300 joints throughout your body. Every moment of every day, each one of them works hard to help you do everything from scrolling through your social media and sipping your coffee to chasing after your kids and running for the bus. 

Fortunately, your joints come fully loaded with a built-in protector called cartilage, a cushioning, shock-absorbent, and lubricating substance. 

Given your joints' hard work, it shouldn't surprise you that cartilage doesn't last forever. The gradual effects of time and underlying autoimmune conditions attack your joints, removing their protection and leaving you with stiff, swollen, painful joints.

It sounds counterintuitive: exercise to help arthritic joints. In this blog, Dr. Nikhil Pandhi and our team highlight why exercise is one of your most powerful arthritis-fighting tools. 

Pain relief

We understand if you're worried about aggravating your pain with exercise, but staying still is much worse. Exercising the right way can significantly improve your pain, stiffness, and swelling.

Improved range of motion

Arthritic joints are difficult (if not impossible) to move the way they once did. However, giving in and opting for a sedentary lifestyle only exacerbates the problem. With exercise, stretching, and movement, your joints gradually become more flexible and mobile. 

Stronger muscles

The best-kept joint health secret? Strong muscles. This is especially true if you have arthritis in the larger weight-bearing joints like your hips and knees. Focus on exercises that build strength to give your weakened joints extra support.

Improved health

When arthritis sets in, your body needs all the help it can get, which means being as healthy as possible. Exercise combined with a nutritious diet is one of the best ways to boost your overall health. Bonus: Losing weight through a healthier lifestyle takes extra stress off your joints. 

More energy and better sleep

Achy joints take a toll on your mood and can keep you tossing and turning all night. Regular exercise fights back by giving you more sustainable energy during the day and more restful sleep at night. 

How to get moving the right way

Convinced that exercise is the best thing for your arthritic joints? Don't lace up right away and sign up for a 10k run. Even if you were an athlete back in the day, exercising looks different now that your joints are vulnerable. 

Dr. Pandhi works closely with you to develop an exercise program that fits your needs, helps you reach your goals, and ultimately improves your symptoms. We recommend following these joint-friendly workout tips anytime you exercise:

  • Try low-impact or no-impact activities, such as biking, Tai chi, swimming, and yoga
  • Slowly increase your level of activity 
  • Stretch before and after
  • Move gently
  • Use heat to relax your joints and muscles
  • Use ice therapy to manage swelling

Above all else, listen to your body. If you notice pain, stop immediately, rest, and try the activity again another day. 

Talk to us about our other arthritis treatments that pair nicely with exercises, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, lifestyle modification, anti-inflammatory medications, biologics, minimally invasive surgery, and joint injections. 

If you're ready to see real healing from arthritis, not just symptom management, we'd love to talk with you. Call or click to schedule an appointment at our Munster, Indiana, office today.