6 Senior-Friendly Arthritis Exercises

Mar 30, 2016

6 Senior-Friendly Arthritis Exercises

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Transitioning into one’s golden years has its ups and downs. While it typically comes with pleasantries like retirement, spare time and grandchildren, growing older also brings some less-than-ideal health situations. For example, developing arthritis is definitely not the worst thing that can happen, but at the same time, it’s no walk in the park.

Coping with arthritis can be difficult; after all, it has the potential to make beloved, everyday activities extremely painful. Despite this, it’s important that seniors don’t let arthritis control their lives and understand that there are ways to continue doing things, such as exercising, without being in pain.

6 Senior-Friendly Arthritis Exercises

1. Water Workouts

Water workouts are a beneficial workout for anyone, but especially individuals suffering from arthritis. These workouts allow seniors to get cardiovascular exercise, without the harsh pounding of working out on grass, pavement or any other surface.

Exercise: Walk quickly side to side in the shallower end of a pool (3 – 4 feet). This will help build muscle; all while taking the pressure off of any joints that are in pain. Seniors should try to find a health or fitness center that has an underwater treadmill to reap the full benefits of this exercise.

2. Dance Classes

Dance classes involve light, fluid movements, therefore dance classes typically don’t force participants to stomp or put unnecessary pressure on an individual’s joints. These classes can be extra fun because they can involve partners, and there are different variations of class, allowing individuals to pursue their own taste in dance.

Exercise: Seniors should try out Zumba classes. These classes entail heavy movement so seniors are burning calories, but there is no pounding, and there are very few movements that would cause joints to become inflamed.

3. Pilates & Yoga

Pilates and Yoga classes are extremely low-impact, therefore not allowing joints to become inflamed or painful. These two similar forms of exercise are also a great way to stretch an individual’s entire body!

Exercise: There are yoga classes for people with all different abilities, but seniors should avoid classes like hot yoga, floating yoga and power yoga. Taking a beginners class is always the best way to test someone’s abilities without hurting themselves!

4. Biking

Biking or Cycling is a great way for seniors with arthritis to get a cardiovascular workout without irritating or inflaming their joints. Biking can be a social exercise that gets seniors out of the house, or it can be done at home on a stationary bike.

Exercise: For those that are new to biking and cycling, start out with increment workouts (5 minutes fast, 5 minutes slow, and so on). This allows each individual to workout to his or her own capabilities.

5. Elliptical

Elliptical workouts help those suffering from arthritis avoid the forceful pounding of high-impact workouts like running, all while getting the same benefits. This is a great workout for seniors to do at home or at the gym!

Exercise: The best thing about the elliptical is that senior’s can participate in any, low-impact workout they want; high or low incline, fast or slow and so on!

6. Walking

Walking with arthritis can be tricky, but the key is simply pacing oneself and not pushing harder than necessary. Walking is typically low-impact, and allows seniors to workout without aggravating their joints.

Exercise: Seniors should start walking, either outside or on a treadmill, at ten-minute increments, but at a fast pace in order to get their heart rates up. The more often a senior participates in this activity, the more endurance they will build.

Just because dealing with arthritis is no walk in the park, doesn’t mean that seniors can’t still enjoy a walk in the park. Arthritis pain is no joke, but it’s important that seniors continue to get the recommended amount of exercise to remain healthy, and these are six great ways for seniors with arthritis to continue being active!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible for physical activity to help arthritis?

Absolutely! Exercise is one of the most effective non-drug treatments for arthritis. It can help to prevent or delay hip surgery and can help keep joints healthy. There are a number of arthritis-friendly exercises like walking, dancing, biking and more.

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What are the symptoms of arthritis?

Symptoms vary with the type of arthritis, but in general, arthritis is characterized by:

  • Lasting joint pain
  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Tenderness or pain when touching a joint
  • Problems using or moving a joint
  • Warmth and redness in a joint

Here is more information on the causes and symptoms of arthritis

See All Answers »

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