If you have arthritis, you’re not alone. In fact, 58.5 million American adults have arthritis, which is a term that is used to describe a number of conditions that affect the joints. And while it may seem counterintuitive, one of the best ways to reduce arthritis pain is to exercise.
At Macomb Medical Clinic in Sterling Heights, Michigan, our providers are experts in treating patients who have arthritis. When you have a flare-up, we can help relieve your pain. However, we focus on preventative medicine with the goal of helping you avoid flare-ups.
And one of the ways we help patients avoid flare-ups is to guide them on how to exercise. In this blog, we explain why exercise is essential if you have arthritis.
How exercise can help you if you have arthritis
If you have arthritis, engaging in moderate exercise consistently can help improve your health in the following ways:
Maintain range of motion and mobility
If you have arthritis and you’re too sedentary, your affected joints could become stiff and lose range of motion. This happens, in large part, due to the aging processes' effect on synovial fluid.
As you age, your body makes less synovial fluid, which is a thick liquid that coats your joints. This fluid protects the ends of your bones and limits friction when your joints move. It also provides nutrients to your cartilage, which is tough tissue that helps protect your bones.
However, in order for this dwindling supply of synovial fluid to coat your joints, you have to move your body. And if you don’t move sufficiently to lubricate your joints, this can result in joint stiffness and pain. Regular exercise can help lubricate your joints and thereby improve your mobility and reduce pain.
Increase muscle strength and endurance
Having arthritis increases your risk of suffering bone fractures from falls and other mishaps. However, you can help avoid falls by developing and maintaining strong muscles. And a great way to keep your muscles strong is to exercise.
Furthermore, when your muscles are strong, this can help take stress off of your joints. Research indicates that building up strong muscles around arthritic joints can help reduce pain and joint degeneration.
Improve overall health
Having a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk for obesity and other diseases.
However, engaging in moderate exercise on a regular basis can bring a host of benefits. It can help decrease your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other health complications, and it can also help you manage your weight.
Furthermore, moderate exercise can help decrease fatigue and improve your sleep.
If you have arthritis, our team at Macomb Medical Clinic can provide you with a comprehensive program to treat and manage your arthritis. Every patient is unique, and your plan will depend on your specific case, but we may offer lifestyle guidance, including nutrition and exercise planning.
We may also recommend a combination of heat and/or ice therapy, physical therapy, medications, and injections. If your condition is severe and conservative methods aren’t effective, we may refer you for joint replacement.
If you have arthritis and want treatment, we can help. To learn more, call 586-315-2394 to book an appointment with Macomb Medical Clinic today.