I have osteo arthritis in my feet, ankles, knees and right shoulder. I take Aleve twice a day, every day and Vicodin as needed for pain. Exercise has been more of a challenge for me than changing what I eat. I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now due to injuring my ankle last November, pushing through the pain and injuring it worse then ending up in physical therapy for 8 weeks in February and March. I'm gradually getting back to exercising.
Here's what works for me:
- I have an recumbant exercise bike at home. When I first got it, I was worried about the repetitive motions on my knees and ankles but I need not have worried. I just started out slow and easy. The first time on got on the thing, I only lasted five minutes. Now, I rountinely do half an hour.
- Swimming is the best thing for me because it takes all the weight off my joints and offers resistance. I'm struggling a bit with that right now as the pool I was going to has closed. But as soon as I can find another place to go, I'll be back in the water. Again, I'm careful and I take it pretty easy. I've been pleasantly surprise at how much swimming has helped ease my pain.
- Walking. I know that this is counter-intuitive but walking is another form of exercise I enjoy. When I started, I could barely walk down to the end of my driveway and back. I actually got to the point that I could walk a mile. After my ankle injury, I had to stop walking for a while. Now, I'm back up to walking half a mile. Again, I take it easy and if I start feeling bone pain, I cut short my walks.
I've had to learn the hard way where the balance is between regular exercise pain and "I'm damaging myself" pain. If it's mild muscular pain, I'll push it a bit. If it's grinding bone pain or bone aches, I cut short whatever I'm doing and rest. If I'm just a little tired, I'll push through. If I'm really fatigued and have that heavy limb feeling, I stop and rest.
I've been amazed at how far I've come since I started my weight loss efforts in January of 2012. Even though I had a set back with that ankle injury, I'm so much more physically capable now. I can do routine things like dishes and hauling in bags of groceries and shopping and walking through airports. When I started, all of those things were very painful challenges.
The best advice I can give is treat yourself gently, whatever you choose to try.