Health and Fitness – Arthritis Got You Down?

9-16-2016-9-56-32-amAccording to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 50 million adults have been diagnosed with arthritis. Hot weather may cause arthritis symptoms to flare up. In addition, increased joint pain may be triggered by swelling or dehydration.

The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the whole body and often causes fatigue and visible swelling. Osteoarthritis is often isolatedwith a particular joint or area of the body. The affected areas may hurt but are not always swollen.

Morning stiffness can be a problem with both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, but can last longer for rheumatoid arthritis. Getting up and moving in the morning can be a challenge especially when the body is dehydrated and dreading another hot summer day. Exercise can be unappealing to someone with arthritis, but research suggests that exercise, along with drinking plenty of water, is one of the best natural remedies for stiff joints. Of course, always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.


Below are a few things you can do to help get yourself out of bed and moving each day. First drink 8 to 16 ounces of water when you first wake. Water will triggermlubrication of the joint and reduce inflammation. Then add the following moves to circulate your joints’ lubricant to further reduce discomfort or pain:

•Wrist Circles. Move wrists in all four directions (up, down, side, side) then open and close the palms by extending the fingers 5 to 10 times.

•Knee Rolls. While lying on your back, bend knees and roll from side to side until the spine starts to feel more flexible.

•Ankle Rolls. Lift one leg and circle foot in both directions, point and flex.

•Shoulder Rolls. Sit up and roll the shouldersm forward and in reverse. Bring shoulders up to the ears and down a few times. Take a few deep breaths to stretch the chest cavity.

•Hip Circles. Stand and do an imaginary hulahoop in both directions.

•March. Get the blood circulating by marching slowly in place for 30 to 60 seconds.

Now that the body is out of bed, keep moving! Get outside for a walk while the temperature is cooler or attend a low impact exercise class. Research shows that movement reduces arthritis symptoms
and doesn’t cause harm. But if there is any sharp or stabbing pain in the joints, see a doctor.

If walking or a land exercise class such as Silver Sneakers does not appeal to you, get in the water. You can swim laps or join a water fitness class. For more information regarding exercises for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, contact:

Janet Hunt at 256-614-3530 or visit one of her classes at the Athens Senior Center, East Limestone Senior Center, Round Island Baptist Church or a water class at the Athens Limestone Wellness Center.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.