Elder Care Services

5 Best Exercises to Ease Arthritis Pain

Painful inflammation of the joints, otherwise known as arthritis, is a common complaint among people of all ages. For elderly adults, arthritis is sometimes an everyday way of life. Luckily, pain medications are not the only way to ease arthritis-related pain. Exercises are the key to easing this painful inflammation.

Physical therapists have found the best and safest ways for people with arthritis to exercise. Gentle yet effective exercises, when performed daily, greatly reduce pain and discomfort caused by arthritis. Here are the top five exercises to ease arthritis and osteoarthritis pain:

  1. Top-to-Bottom Range of Motion
    Take each part of your body through a thorough range of motion warm-up each day. This will loosen joints and acts as a check ist for joint health. Start standing comfortably, with feet hip distance apart. Move your head from right to left and then up and down. Repeat five times. Then roll your shoulders front five times and back five times. Reach your arms way up over your head as if you are trying to reach the ceiling and lower, repeating five times. Then start on your lower body. Gently bend from the waist to touch your toes. If you can’t touch your toes, as most of us cannot, grab your thighs or rest your hand on your legs so you don’t lose balance, and come back up. Repeat five times. Lastly, take hold on a table or counter for balance and rotate one ankle at a time left and right several times. Also, take your foot off the ground and bend your leg from the knees. Swing your leg gently to warm up your knee joints. Perform this total body range of motion exercise every morning. Evenings are optional in addition to mornings.
  2. Walking
    No other exercise is known to be as beneficial as walking is for the mind and body. If possible, get outdoors as often as you safely can, weather permitting, to take a half-hour walk. Not only is walking great for hips, knees, ankles, and thighs, but walking clears one’s mind and promotes overall feelings of well-being and calmness. An ideal time to walk is at the start of your day and after meals. But, any time of the day is a good time of day to walk.
  3. Seated Weight Training
    Begin with a low weight such as three- or five-pound dumbbells. Start with a routine of the classic bicep curl, shoulder lifts, and triceps curls for a set of 10 repetitions, three times a day.

    • Bicep Curl — Seated, hold one dumbbell in each arm, keep upper arms pressed to your side, and slowly raise your forearm up to your armpits. Lower and repeat.
    • Shoulder Lifts — Seated, holding a dumbbell in each hand, bend your arms so that your hands are at shoulder height. Lift your arms over your head. Be careful not to lift up your shoulders. Press your shoulders down as your arms go up for maximum benefit to your shoulder joints and muscles.
    • Tricep Curls — Standing but with one knee resting on the seat of a chair and holding on to the back of the chair, repeat the bicep curl. But instead of starting with your hand down by your thigh, begin the curl with your hand at shoulder height and carry the dumbbell down while curling your hand outward. Repeat.

    Quick note – Lifting weight, any amount of weight, should be done only every other day.

  4. Water Exercises
    Water acts as a terrific resistant, causing one’s body to strengthen because it’s working against the weight of the water. Water activities are safe and fun also. Take this as a chance to have fun with a limitless range of motion one can have safely in water.

    • Leg swings while holding onto the side of the pool.
    • Walking breast-stroke — Instead of kicking legs, just walk around the pool while you do the breast stroke with your arms.
    • In-place breast-stroke — Kick legs, paddle legs and/or move like a frog, swimming to work your lower body.
  5. Hand Exercises
    Often, people are more plagued in their hands than anywhere else in their body. Here are some simple exercises that can be done while watching television, reading a book or just relaxing in the hot tub:

    • Open and Close — Just open your hands as wide as you can and close. Repeat 20 times and then switch hands
    • A Little Game — Try to bend all your fingers from the first joint only, then from the next joint down and so on.
    • Squishy Ball — Usually you can buy a hand-strengthening ball in the exercise equipment department of sporting goods stores. If not, make your own by using a plastic zip-lock sandwich bag and filling it tightly with plastic shopping bags or any sort of material that will be squishy when you squeeze.