If you’ve ever woken one day and experienced pain when you’ve stretched your muscles and joints, you may be at risk for arthritis. Arthritis comes in many conditions, with swelling and tenderness occurring in your joints and muscle tissue, and it can cause chronic daily aches that never go away.
Even though it may seem counterintuitive, strength training (or weight lifting) is a way you can decrease the pain and inflammation in your joints. It improves your motor functions and helps combat arthritis. A tailored exercise regime in your routine can effectively help relieve pains and preserve your joint structure.
But, you may be wondering – how does strength training help you with arthritis?
Here are some of the many benefits and advantages you can utilize when adding strengthening to your routine and helping relieve arthritis pain.
Strength Training is Low Impact
Many people experience arthritis symptoms and conditions as they age. And the effects of arthritis can make it feel challenging to do a lot of movement. Lifting weights doesn’t sound like a good fix, but exercise is adaptive to your needs.
One of the benefits of strength training is unlike cardio; you can do it at a longer, slower pace. Low-impact exercises are often strengthening ones, and it doesn’t put any stress on your joints. Because you can move those joints slowly and methodically, it helps to improve their mobility.
You can also start slowly, with just a few exercises to get you going and feeling more comfortable with strengthening. Then, as you can tolerate more extended periods with strength training, you eventually build up your endurance. As you improve and increase your endurance, you can slowly add more weight to exercises or add some cardiovascular fitness to your routine.
Strength Training Makes You Stronger
It seems obvious, but you’re bound to become stronger when you work doing strength training. In fact, studies have shown that the effects of strength training help to impact arthritis significantly. Strong muscles aid in helping weak joints become more stable and comfortable, as well as protecting them from any further damage.
So, when you build muscle, you eliminate the strain on your joints from arthritis. In addition, the increase in muscle tissue improves your joint mobility since you make a lot of repetitive motions.
Strength Training Helps You Lose/Maintain Weight
People with arthritis in their joints often do so due to increased weight gain. When you gain weight, you put more pressure on your joints to carry you around, which can put a lot of stress on them. So it can be another factor in causing you to have arthritis.
Many people who are overweight put more pressure on their joints, including the hips, knees, and ankles. After some time, those joints feel more painful and can become inflamed, resulting in arthritis and arthritis-like conditions.
Losing weight can be challenging, and it takes time and effort. However, even the medical experts at Rahav Wellness emphasize that besides the dietary balance, strength training has been proven to burn more calories than cardio exercise. So you can reach your weight loss goals more quickly and efficiently by incorporating strengthening.
Important Tips as You Begin Strengthening
Knowing that when you begin exercising, you should proceed with caution is crucial. You don’t want to jump in, go all out, and have it result in an injury. If it’s your first time at a gym or doing workouts with weights, there are some things that you should keep in mind, such as:
- Have a discussion with your doctor before starting a new exercise regime, and ensure that your body will be able to handle it.
- You don’t have to join a gym; you can do strengthening workouts at home, just listen to your body and go slowly.
- You don’t need to strength train with weights; you can use resistance bands or your own body weight.
- Learn some beginner range-of-motion exercises and stretches as part of your warm-up before you get started with strengthening.
- Do your training at a time of day when your arthritis isn’t bothering you or your symptoms are reduced. For example, if you have pain in the morning, don’t do strength training at that time, but instead wait until the afternoon.
- If you experience a flare-up of arthritis, don’t do any exercising until your inflammation subsides. Instead, consider doing a more low-impact movement such as water therapy.
- Soreness after strengthening is normal, but if you’re experiencing sharp pain or are concerned, call your doctor and get it examined to be sure it isn’t anything serious.
Suppose you’re ready to start adding more strengthening into your routine to help with arthritis. In that case, a significant first step is working with a physical therapist to help design a program tailored to your condition. It will also be more safety conscious than doing it alone. Listen to training tips for beginners from a trusted source.
Regardless of where you begin, just do so slowly and start with something you enjoy so you are more likely to keep at it. Incorporating strengthening takes time to become a habit, but once it is, you can challenge yourself and work to significantly reduce your arthritis pain with a stronger, healthier body.
By: Melissa Waltz
Melissa has always been recognized for her health and wellness knowledge and gained her knack for sharing this knowledge when first asked to ghostwrite for a friend’s nutrition blog. That’s when she realized her love for writing and she began to create articles on holistic nutrition utilizing her educational background in Nutritional Science. While working in the health industry for over a decade, she has grown into an experienced writer who likes to simplify any science-based jargon into reader-friendly language.