As counterproductive as it may seem, research suggests that regular exercise can help people with arthritis minimize joint pain and retain their flexibility. In fact, regular exercise can actually reduce pain by preventing muscles and tendons that support the joints from becoming weaker with lack of use. On an emotional level, exercise releases so-called “feel good” hormones that can help people with arthritis maintain a positive attitude.
If you have or care for an aging parent or loved one with arthritis, consider the following tips from trusted Denver home care agency, Home Care Assistance. They’ll help your loved one manage new exercises safely, even when their arthritis symptoms persist.
- Encourage a Slow Start and Breaks – Moderation is the key to exercising with arthritis. With weight training, for example, seniors should take a day or two off during especially painful arthritis flare-ups or modify routines to include more breaks between reps.
- Recommend Leisure Time Activities – Exercise doesn’t have to mean being confined to the gym. Leisure activities like fishing, taking casual walks, biking or even joining a water aerobics class can also be beneficial for seniors with arthritis. Besides, your loved one is more likely to stick with activities that he or she actually enjoys doing.
- Ensure Exercise at the Right Time – Many people with arthritis report increased pain early in the morning or when first waking up, possibly due to a lack of substantial movement while sleeping. Exercising before bed may also increase muscle and joint pain, so do a little experimenting to find a time of day that works best for your loved one’s comfort level.
There are four exercises that tend to be best for people with arthritis: range-of-motion exercises, aerobic exercises, flexibility exercises and strengthening exercises. Before starting any exercise plan, make sure that your loved one seeks doctor approval first.
As a caregiver or family member of an aging loved one, other tips for encouraging exercise with arthritis include:
- Helping your loved one set realistic, short-term goals
- Exercising with your loved one for added encouragement
- Keeping a log to track progress and identify activities that are more beneficial than others
- Identifying barriers that prevent your loved one from completing or performing certain exercises*
*A physical therapist may be able to help resolve issues like this by recommending modifications.
If your aging parent or loved one has trouble with daily activities as the result of arthritis, ensure their safety and maximize comfort at home with help from the highly trained caregivers at Home Care Assistance of Denver. We offer flexible hourly and 24 hour care in Denver, and can assist seniors with a wide range of activities from nutritious meal preparation and medication reminders to personal care and transportation. To learn more, request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a friendly and experienced Care Manager by calling 720-443-3371.