Arthritis - How to Exercise


 1. Warming up increases blood circulation and helps muscles relax. A simple five-minute walk or stationary bike ride will do the trick. 


2. Stretching improves flexibility and helps the patient prepare for aerobic exercise. It is important to stretch the hamstrings and quadriceps. 


3. Getting started is easy. If you train too hard, you will switch from aerobic to anaerobic. This can cause potentially painful and dangerous injuries. To determine where you should be, find your target heart rate by subtracting your age from 220, then aim for 40% to 70% of that heart rate. 


4. You have to push a little. Be sure to work in the 40% to 70% range to increase energy, lose weight, and build muscle.  


5. Do not eat for two hours after training. Digestion causes blood flow to the intestines, not the muscles. It can cause stomach cramps and nausea. 


6. Be sure not to overdo it. When lifting weights, the temptation is to push too hard. If you lift the right amount, you will tire by the 15th rep. When you find that a certain weight is getting too light, add more weight. Weight training helps improve stamina, energy and strength. 


7. Cool properly. Stretch, breathe deeply and don't stop suddenly. You can even freeze the affected areas. 


8. Drink a lot of water. When you're done, drink more. Adequate water intake will help with cooling, circulation and injury prevention. 


9. If you're using a stair climber or elliptical trainer, it's easy to lean on the handrail. Stand straight. 


10. Use the appropriate form. Improper form can cause injury. 


11. If you are injured, skip today's training. Trying to overcome pain can lead to injury. You may feel sore muscles the day after a good workout.  


12. Before starting an exercise program, consider seeing a physical therapist.


13. "Custom Fit" your training. For example, if you have bad shoulders, swimming may not be for you. Consider cycling or walking. On the other hand, if you have bad knees, swimming may be better for you than walking. Avoid rowing if you have a bad back.


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