Managing Arthritis With Diet and Exercise

Many people with arthritis experience pain not only when they move, but they also experience stiffness soreness in the body after long periods of sitting. One individual with those issues recently told me, "I walk fairly regularly, but I do not do anything else fitness-wise — no machines, no weights, floor exercises, exercise balls or classes."

Sorry, but walking is not just enough to improve your condition. Exercises, including activities that engage the full body, are recommended for individuals with arthritis. This is not just to help joint mobility, or to prevent loss of lean muscle tissue through the aging process, or to maintain strength, or to reduce pain and stiffness, or even to mobilize stiff or contracted joints. The most important benefit of this activity is that it helps people with arthritis to stay independent.

Of course, the type of exercise performed needs to be done with due consideration to each individual's stage of arthritis. Yes, it will be sometimes challenging because of fatigue and discomfort following an exercise program. Hence, it is important to find the right balance for your condition. But don't shy away from physical activity; our body's systems are designed to move, and when you stop moving that system starts to fall apart.

Here are a few guidelines for working with pain and stiffness:

Do low-impact activities, which includes walking, speed walking, swimming and lifting weights.

Put all joints through the full range of motion at least once a day, according to your ability. If you need help starting out, hire a personal trainer who can assist you.

Emphasize proper body alignment at all times. As a rule, your toe, ankle, knee, hip and shoulder should be in one line if you look at yourself in front of a mirror.

Modify the intensity on days where you have flare-ups.

Take enough time for warm-up. Prepare your body for your workout activities to come.

It is up to you and your doctor to decide whether you will require supervision of a healthcare practitioner to exercise with arthritis.

But please make an effort to stay mobile, in shape and independent. These days, we are living to 80, 90 and 100. Preparation for your life at that age does not just happen overnight; it is a process. And your progress should start now.

Stefan Aschan is a leading expert on lifestyle, health and fitness who has helped more than 30,000 people get fit through advice on nutrition, fitness and lifestyle changes. For your free must read "updates and solution" newsletter on how to have 10 times more success, stay on top of your goals, and accomplish the change of body and appearance," visit

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