Movement is one of the best ways to restore range of motion to arthritic joints, thus relieving some of the discomfort commonly associated with this condition. Non or low-impact movement is even better because it places little or no strain on vulnerable joints.
Although there is no “wrong” way to exercise, certain activities have certain benefits and certain risks. Therefore, it’s important to use the right kind of activity that has the most benefits for arthritic knees and the fewest risks for these patients.
Here are the following Exercises For Arthritic Knees
In the past, Eastern healers often prescribed yoga to their arthritis patients because of its substantial benefits. The movement increases both joint flexibility and range of motion. That usually means less dependence on pain pills and an improved ability to perform everyday simple tasks, like walking across the parking lot or climbing stairs. Some of the best yoga poses for arthritic knees are:
- Sun Salutation: There are several variations of this yoga pose, but all of them stretch the spine, are very calming, and put no stress on the knees.
- Easy Pose: The Sukhasana strengthens the back. The improved posture often naturally removes excess pressure from knee joints. This pose also stretches knees and ankles, gently increasing range of motion.
- Big Toe Pose: The HastaPadangushtasana strengthens the knees without bending or flexing them. That added strength makes the stretching exercises even more effective. This pose also stretches the legs and hamstrings.
The physical benefits of yoga are only part of the story. Yoga also has a strong meditative element that can help distract the mind from pain. Degenerative joint disease or any other arthritic condition clearly is not psychosomatic, but concentrating on the discomfort and on what you cannot do makes the condition worse. Yoga practitioners concentrate on what their bodies can do, and that’s very healthy.
This non-contact Chinese martial art is a lot like yoga. Both involve stretching and deep breathing that improve range of motion and muscle tone. Furthermore, both have a meditative and emotionally cleansing element. One is not really “better” than the other one; it is really just a matter of preference.
In 1997, tai chi master and family physician Dr. Paul Lam created a program specifically for arthritis. The program is both very easy to learn and very deep, so you can get started quickly and practice tai chi for arthritis over the long term without getting bored or plateauing. This program:
- Strengthens muscles to protect and support vulnerable joints,
- Increases both joint flexibility and joint circulation, and
- Promotes overall fitness, especially cardiovascular health.
Tai chi for arthritis also improves balance and helps prevent falls, and that is a big plus for people at risk for these injuries.
When joints are inflamed, almost any movement is usually uncomfortable at first, and that includes walking. But that discomfort usually fades away rather quickly, opening the door to a number of benefits, including:
- Rebuilding Cartilage: This natural shock-absorber is a lot like a sponge. Alternating decompression and compression movements cause blood to flow freely to the knees, and the cartilage soaks up these nutrients.
- Strengthen Muscles: Walking develops leg muscles and gives them the ability to bear some of the body’s weight. That takes pressure off the knees and therefore reduces arthritis inflammation.
- Weight Loss: The results may not be dramatic, but such an outcome is not necessary. Every pound you lose is a pound less of pressure on the knees, and that excess pressure quickly adds up.
Most people should try to walk about 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. You can break that time up into ten or even five-minute increments and still obtain roughly the same benefits. Walking may not have the direct meditative benefits of tai chi and yoga, but it will take your mind off your aching knees for a little while, and that’s a good thing.
To reduce the pain from arthritic knees, just get moving and keep moving.