12 Dec 2017

Easy Activities That Will Help Osteoarthritis Sufferers Increase Their Mobility and Strength

Easy Activities That Will Help Osteoarthritis Sufferers Increase Their Mobility and Strength

Osteoarthritis can be painful. It can also lead to decreased mobility and body strength. Fortunately, there are a number of exercises and fun activities you can try to improve your mobility and wellbeing.

Practice Tai Chi and Qigong

In Chinese medicine, the flow of Qi energy along channels in the body (called meridians) is essential to an individual’s health and wellbeing. Directing the flow of Qi can help reduce illness and improve mobility and strength, particularly when combined with the movements of Tai Chi practice.

What is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi aims to integrate mind, body and spirit into a single practice of controlled movements and breathing that helps generate internal energy. Most Tai Chi teachers will tell you the ultimate purpose of Tai Chi is to cultivate Qi (or life energy) through smooth, controlled and powerful movements through the body.

Beyond the historic and spiritual elements, Tai Chi is also good for osteoarthritis sufferers. Tai Chi exercises are performed slowly and focus on control, breathing and mobility. This can lead to a reduction in joint pain, better body health, strength and flexibility, as well as a better mental state for overcoming other challenges that may be related to osteoarthritis, such as improved diet.

Change the way you walk (and do more of it)

Walking is something we do every day, but putting one foot in front of the other can actually be a great way to improve joint pain and other symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.

‘Gait re-training’ (a process of retraining OA sufferers to walk in a way that’s better for their overall health) can alleviate pain and slow the process of osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of cartilage in the joint. OA sufferers who experience joint pain in the knees, hips or ankles will typically have an abnormal gait. Over time, this leads to more wear on other joints as they try to compensate for the change in stride. Results from a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research found that a group of participants were able to get comfortable with a new way of walking within about a month, and that participants reported pain lessened and mobility improved about 30% over the same period of time.

Take up a daily exercise program

The misconception around osteoarthritis is that it means you can’t exercise anymore. Not only is this untrue, but exercise can provide a solution to strengthening the body and alleviating OA pain.

Group activities can help you get started

For some, motivation can be an issue in getting started with exercise. Fortunately, there are a number of group activities you can try. Group activities are more social. You’ll be able to meet new people, form friendships and share stories on how to cope with OA.

Group activities are also fun! Some good ones to try include:

  • Aqua Aerobics: Combining mobility and movement with low impact water exercises, this group activity is a fun way to stay healthy and cool off in the summer.
  • Pilates: Specifically designed to improve posture, strength and flexibility, it’s a mostly low impact group activity that you can also do on your own.
  • Yoga: Combing stretching, breathing and mental well being, Yoga is similar to Tai Chi in that it promotes a healthy lifestyle both in activity and diet.
  • Martial Arts: Martial arts can be great for building strength and flexibility. Many martial arts also focus on mental wellbeing to help overcome personal obstacles outside of training.

Strength building exercises

Weight lifting can help build muscle which supports the joints and can help alleviate muscular pain. It’s essential that you speak with a professional before attempting exercises like:

  • Bodyweight exercises: Push ups, dips and other exercises that use only your body weight.
  • Free weights: Lifting weights using a tailored program suitable to your needs.
  • Resistance Bands: Help build strength with less risk of high impact.
  • Weight machines: Good for heavier weights to reduce risk.

Other fun exercises to try

These easy exercises can be done on your own or with friends.

  • Cycling: Take a short ride around the block or a quick ride to the markets. Bikes are great for combining exercise into your everyday life.
  • Golf: Combines mobility and walking for a fun, competitive adventure.
  • Hiking: See more of the great outdoors and increase health and endurance while you do.
  • Tennis: A great social sport that can be played at any age or skill level. Playing doubles tennis will be easiest on your body and modifications can be made depending on the joints affected.

Staying active is essential for everyone

Regardless of your age, remaining active will help keep you healthy. Even you suffer from osteoarthritis, that doesn’t have to mean the end of having fun. Talk to your medical professional today about the sort of exercises that might be suitable for you. Combined with Flexiseq for targeted pain relief and helping to prevent the development of osteoarthritis, you can be enjoying a healthy, happy and active life in no time.