When older adults are challenged by arthritis pain, the last thing they may want to do is get up and exercise. Nonetheless, our caregivers want to emphasize how crucially important it is for those with arthritis to continue being physically active to prevent progression of the disease and to optimize joint functionality. The key is pinpointing the correct degree and form of exercise to deliver health advantages, while avoiding further harm.
Hearts at Home is dedicated to helping seniors safely and effectively increase physical activity to enhance overall health and wellbeing. If your older loved one is reluctant to exercise as a result of arthritis pain, the first step is to set up an appointment with his or her physician for help with managing pain and suggestions on an appropriate activity strategy.
With the doctor’s consent, the checklist below may be of help in managing some of the common issues of exercising with arthritis:
Is mild pain experienced prior to exercise? Often individuals with arthritis experience some degree of discomfort when first starting an exercise program, and may be inclined to stop the activity at that point. Yet professionals recommend persisting through mild pain with simplified range of motion movements, which actually will provide lubrication for the joints and improve blood flow. Pain should lessen after a couple minutes of gentle movement, which can then be followed with a low-impact physical activity program, such as walking.
Is the senior experiencing a higher degree of pain before exercising? Moderate to severe pain at the onset of activity ought to be managed differently. If the pain is restricted to one specific area, such as the ankles, give those joints the chance to rest and recover, and concentrate instead on exercising other parts of the body for a day or two; and then try again.
Is heightened pain a factor during exercise? If pain severity rises rather than diminishes while exercising, the older person should stop and visit the doctor again for suggestions. Inflammation or injury to the joint might be an issue and needs to be attended to.
How does the senior feel after exercising? If moderate to extreme pain is evident after exercising, switching to a different type of physical activity that’s easier on the joints is recommended. Swimming, water aerobics, and stationary bike riding are often ideal for those with arthritis – but again, consult with the doctor for approval prior to starting or changing an exercise plan.
- Providing safe, dependable transportation to health-related appointments
- Picking up prescription refills and running other errands
- Offering motivation and encouragement to participate in a doctor-approved exercise plan
- Preparing nourishing meals
- Assisting with ambulation and personal care needs, such as bathing and dressing
- Providing pleasant companionship to brighten each day
- And so much more