On April 24, 2013, Robyn Jensen of the Five County Area Agency on Aging spoke on Arthritis, Exercise & Mobility.
Arthritis is a disease, which can be chronic or acute (Rheumatoid), which involves joint inflammation. Individuals experience it differently, having flare-ups or periods of remission (decreased symptoms). It occurs across all age groups and can lead to depression, isolation and decreased socialization. If diagnosed early, there are many tools that can help lower its impact on one's life.
Signs and symptoms include stiffness in the morning and after activity, recurring joint pain with heat and redness, fever, fatigue and unexplained weight loss. One way to lead a fulfilling lifestyle is to exercise, which will increase joint flexibility, muscle strength around the joint, bone strength and ability to perform activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming, eating, & walking. Exercise can improve overall mood and health, and help with weight loss and self-esteem. Lack of exercise can lead to decreased ability to do things that one enjoys and that allow one to be independent. Weak and damaged joints and muscles can worsen. One should try to be active every day, with 30 minutes of exercise. Exercise does not have to be strenuous. Talk with your doctor or a physical therapist, and keep an exercise journal. Risks of exercising are aggravating your muscles and joints by working too hard, especially when beginning an exercise program. Educate yourself, eat properly to control weight, and learn to conserve energy with rest and relaxation.
A balanced exercise program includes range of motion, strengthening, and aerobic activity. Start slowly!! Range of motion exercises will lessen stiffness, increase flexibility and ability to care for yourself. Emphasize the endpoints of your range of motion-at what point does real discomfort occur? Don't push beyond that point. Strengthening exercises can be isometric (joint does not move) or isotonic - use weights and bands for resistance. These exercises will provide strong muscles to maintain strength and joint stability. Aerobic exercise should involve something you enjoy - swimming, biking, walking, mall walking, etc.
- If an area is sore before beginning to exercise, use heat for stiffness and ice for swelling
- Always warm up
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing and shoes with good support
- Build up gradually
- Be realistic with your goals
- Don't hurry, use a steady pace
- If you have increased pain about 2 hours after your exercise, slow down
- Cool down after each exercise period for 5-15 minutes to decrease your heart rate and breathing
- Give your program at least 2 weeks to ensure it fits you
- Make an exercise plan.
You can listen to an audio recording of Robin's presentation here.