Arthritis Friendly Exercises Relieve Pain and Stiffness

Osteoarthritis often becomes a health issue as people age. It affects the joints, breaking down the cartilage, causing connective tissue to deteriorate, and damaging the bone.  Joints that are most often affected are the hips, knees, and hands. People can also develop arthritis in parts of their spine.

Symptoms of arthritis include pain, stiffness, and swelling. As the condition worsens, there may be a decreased range of motion or flexibility in the affected joint. Arthritis may become disabling, preventing individuals from doing the daily activities they once did.

Who is at risk for developing osteoarthritis?

More than 32 million adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. The risk increases with age, and women are more likely to develop it than men. Those who are obese may have more issues with arthritis since carrying extra weight puts more stress on the hips and knees.

What types of exercises can help?

A senior adult couple is lifting weights and working out at the gym.

Those suffering from pain and stiffness caused by arthritis can benefit from exercises that increase strength and flexibility and improve balance. Exercise helps control weight, increases energy levels, and may add to quality of life.

Those suffering from arthritis should talk to their physician before beginning a new exercise program. The doctor can recommend suitable exercises that may provide benefits for people with arthritis. The following types of exercises can be helpful to people with arthritis:

·       Strengthening Exercises – Strength training builds muscles that will support and protect joints. Exercises using hand weights are popular. The Arthritis Foundation recommends that women begin with 2 to 3 pound weights.  Men can opt for 5 to 8 pound weights initially. Start working with the larger muscle groups and allow a day to recover between sessions. An alternative to weights is using resistance bands for strength training.

·       Range of Motion Exercises – An easy exercise for the knees begins by sitting in a chair and extending one leg out straight. Hold for a few seconds, bend the knee, and bring the foot back as far as possible. Repeat 10 times. For the hips, lie on the back and point the toes toward the ceiling. Move one leg out to the side, and then slide it back.  Repeat ten times for each leg. For arthritic hands, hold the hands out with the fingers straight. Make a loose fist with the thumb on the outside; reopen the hand.  Repeat ten times. Squeezing a ball is another good exercise to improve hand flexibility.

·       Low-impact Aerobics – Examples include walking, swimming, water aerobics, and Tai Chi. These exercises help strengthen muscles, maintain flexibility, and improve circulation. Residents at Renaissance Villages in Murrieta can enjoy community amenities such as local walking trails and our Bocce Ball Court to help maintain an active senior lifestyle.   

Shot of two elderly friends enjoying a run together outdoors

Senior adults should focus on low-impact exercise, which minimizes stress on joints.  Start slowly and gently to warm up. Workout sessions should be short; 15 to 30 minutes is best. If pain is felt, it’s time to take a break. Applying ice to painful joints post-exercise helps alleviate swelling.  

ONR Touch and Geri-Fit Senior Fitness

At Renaissance Villages, our ONR Touch onsite therapy services are available to residents. Led by trained professionals, we offer rehabilitation therapy, education, fitness, and wellness programs. ONR Touch helps promote independence and enhances residents’ quality of life. We also offer three Geri-Fit senior fitness classes each week to keep our residents safe and mobile.

Contact us today for more information or to schedule a tour.  

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