Exercises help ease pain of arthritis


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The National Arthritis Foundation recommends these easy exercises to relieve pain and encourage movement.

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Medical professionals agree that exercise can help ease the pain of arthritis. Just four 2-minute moves can make a difference.

“Although the study did not focus on people with arthritis,” Duke University physical therapist Cynthia Harrell, who specializes in arthritis and is quoted on the Arthritis Foundation website, says “short bouts of exercise can strengthen muscles and relieve pain and stiffness due to arthritis. And even 2 minutes can be broken up into smaller chunks of different types of exercise that can give your whole body a boost.”

She suggests deep belly breathing for 30 to 60 seconds, a hamstring stretch for 30 seconds and a calf stretch for 30 seconds to relax and relieve muscle pain and stiffness; strengthen hip and thigh muscles with marching in place for 30 to 60 seconds; walking forward and backward for 10 steps; make arm circles for upper body range of motion; or seated, raise straight leg for 30 seconds for each leg to strengthen muscles to support the knees. (Note diagram on this page).

Water walking therapy is seen as very beneficial by the Arthritis Foundation. The water’s buoyancy reduces the impact on joints; water also has greater resistance than air, which means walking in water requires more effort and ultimately burns more calories than walking on land.

Many aquatic centers, YMCAs, community pools and residential locations have programs designed for people with arthritis and water aerobics classes. Water classes take away the impact of gravity and allow joints optimal flexing, which can improve range of motion.

“The Arthritis Foundation’s website is robust and a great resource full of reliable and trusted information,” said Mariel Armitage, a community engagement director in Orlando. “There are still a few aquatic programs that, while not led by the Arthritis Foundation, can be found in our resource finder on the website.”

To help raise funds for the cure for arthritis, the 2018 Walk to Cure Arthritis in Orlando will be held May 12 at Lake Eola Park at 195 N. Rosalind Ave. in Orlando. For more information, contact Rebecca Waggoner at 407-208-1766 or by email at rwaggoner@arthritis.org.