Over the weekend, my mother casually stated that her arthritis has been bothering her. "What arthritis?" I asked her.
My mother is a very active woman just months away from her 80th birthday. She tries to walk 10,000 steps every day (we once calculated that to be a little over 2 miles for her). She has done 5-10Ks, knits lovely things for people and has beautiful hands with long tapered fingers. When she showed me her fingers, I was shocked that I had not noticed, before, that her knuckles were slightly deformed.
This revelation has been bothering me a lot, largely because she's my mom and is always expressing her concern over my physical condition (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scoliosis, more) without much regard for her own issues. She needs to see her doctor about her hands; but she said she has me to help her keep her legs moving.
She is planning to do a local annual 10K that falls on her milestone birthday weekend. Being a marathoner, in spite of my own issues, my mother's comment reminded me why we stay active: exercise, or atrophy.
The Mayo Clinic contends that exercise helps reduce the pain from even rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and can also:
- Strengthen the muscles around your joints
- Help you maintain bone strength
- Give you more strength and energy to get through the day
- Make it easier to get a good night's sleep
- Help you control your weight
- Make you feel better about yourself and improve your sense of well-being
These tips also help protect your joints as you get into an exercise program:
- Apply heat to the joints you'll be working before you exercise. Heat can relax your joints and muscles and relieve any pain you have before you begin. Heat treatments — warm towels, hot packs or a shower — should be warm, not painfully hot, and should be applied for about 20 minutes.
- Move your joints gently at first to warm up. You might begin with range-of-motion exercises for five to 10 minutes before you move on to strengthening or aerobic exercises.
- Exercise with slow and easy movements. If you start noticing pain, take a break. Sharp pain and pain that is stronger than your usual joint pain might indicate something is wrong. Slow down if you notice inflammation or redness in your joints.
- Ice your joints after exercising. This can reduce swelling and pain. Use a cold pack on your joints for 10 to 15 minutes.
What kind of exercise is best? Keep moving, I've always said, and Mayo agrees. Range of motion, aerobics, walking all help keep your joints flexible. Just don't overdo it and make sure you check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Mom realizes she needs to start "training" for her 10K, even though it's not until next Spring. If I know her, she'll be forcing everyone else on our team (did I mention we've already formed a family team?) to keep up with her!
Exercising with arthritis: Improve your joint pain and stiffness
All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.
Add a Comment2 Comments
Funny you mention these foods, they're already a regular part of our regimens. Speaking of ginger: have you ever had ginger babies? They're "candied" ginger cut into tiny gingerbread men shapes, so good! We also eat a lot of the Japanese pickled ginger, and I make fresh ginger tea - great iced.
Mom definitely inspired me to start running. She did her first Capitol 10K 20 years ago. Back then, the only running I was doing was after my kids. She talked me into doing a Komen 5K with her several years ago; by then, she was a 5K veteran and had done a couple of triathlon relays (the walk part) with my youngest sister. We've done two 10Ks together, as well as a couple of Komen 5Ks. She has been seriously thinking about training for her first half marathon - walking it.
Go, Mom!June 20, 2008 - 4:27pm
80 years old and running a 10K. What a great role model. Alysia, you said you were a marathoner. Did you get your mother into running or did she pass down the tradition?
And in addition to exercise, I've also read that certain foods can help with the inflammation associated with arthrtis. Those foods include anythign with Omega 3 fatty acid, extra-virgin olive oil, vitamin C, selenium, carotenes and ginger.
Thanks for sharing.June 19, 2008 - 8:26pm