Arthritis is a medical condition involving damage to the joints of the body. There are more than hundred different types of arthritis but the most common type is a degenerative joint disease, also known as osteoarthritis. Other types of arthritis involve rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and related autoimmune diseases. Arthritis is typically associated with the breakdown of the cartilage, which normally protects the joints and enables the smooth movements of the joints and limbs. Cartilage absorbs all of the excess pressure on the joints, and when it wears out, there is nothing left to protect the bones of rubbing together, causing pain, swelling, inflammation and stiffness.
Problems with arthritis
All of the types of arthritis are characterized by severe pain. In most of the cases, patients feel joint pain and swelling around the joints. The natural range of motion is typically limited and there is redness of the skin surrounding the joint, as a result of inflammation. The joints may feel stiff and sore, especially in the morning hours, and they may even feel warm on touch. In advanced phases of the disease, patients will lose muscle flexibility, and they will typically become very weak. Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States. It is estimated that more than 20 million individuals suffer from severe limitations due to this disease. All of the individuals affected with arthritis may benefit from special exercises, as this is the best way to keep them physically active and prevent secondary changes to the muscles and general aerobic fitness.
Many people believe that patients with arthritis cannot perform any exercises, since their motion is restricted and their joints are painful. However, this is completely untrue. Not only those arthritis patients can enjoy physical exercise, but they can also improve their condition with regular training. Regular but moderate exercises will reduce their joint pain and stiffness while building the strong muscles around the joints. This will increase their flexibility and endurance and possibly reduce inflammation. Moreover, regular exercise may help these patients to avoid other health problems such as heart disease and osteoporosis.
The great fitness routine for arthritis would include warming up and flexibility exercises. Easy stretches or simple yoga postures may help to increase the range of motion. People suffering from a lot of pain may find it hard to perform all of these exercises. The best option for this group of patients is to take a slow walk in the water, which provides a mild resistance, offering a great workout without any pressure and tearing on the joints.