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Exercise with arthritis?

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Old 04-15-2013, 01:06 AM   #1
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Default Exercise with arthritis?

I've suffered from osteoarthritis for years. I've recently started Medifast and hope to be able to start exercising soon. I have severe arthritis in both knees and in my left shoulder.

Does anyone here exercise regularly with OA? What do you do? How often? How do you avoid (or bear) the pain with movement?
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:22 AM   #2
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I have the same question! My arthritis is worst in my knees and feet, and troublesome in my hips and getting worse in my fingers.

I look at all the squats and step aerobics some people do - OUCH! It hurts to get on the floor and then up again, so I avoid Pilates and yoga and situps and such things. My dr. suggests swimming, but there is no gym with a pool nearby and I am not at the point where I can leave my family that long every day.

However, this is what I DO do. It's been three weeks this time, but I have done these things for several months at a time on and off through the past years.

1. Walk. I take a slow pace and then speed up as I feel able...but I do not go so fast or pound the pavement (I walk on city sidewalks) so hard that it hurts. Slow and steady may not lose me as much weight as hard and fast, but I can walk daily and do 1-2 miles at a time without it hurting. This adds up!

2. Strength training. Well, sometimes I joke that it is weak training, but it is better than nothing! 3x per week in the morning I do seated and standing exercises for my upper and lower body. I usually watch a tv show while I do it, as I get way way bored with exercise videos. My routine right now (I just graduated myself to 3lb weights!) alternates upper and lower body exercises. I chose them from different websites, like Spark People, Youtube and Livestrong. Leg lifts, seated rotations, overhead presses, etc. I do 15x reps of each exercise and just go through the list and repeat till the show I am watching is done - 25-30m or so. Again, it is not very much compared to some who have no joint pain or who are stronger, but it is so much better for me than just sitting around.

As for the pain...I will take Aleve when it is bad, but I never push myself so hard that it hurts more than I can bear. And I allow myself to rest afterwards when I need to.

Hope that helped you some!
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:48 PM   #3
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Try Peggy Cappy's Easy Yoga for Easing Pain or Easy Yoga for Arthritis.
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:16 PM   #4
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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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:27 PM   #5
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I have multiple health issues that contribute to pain and mobility issues, including osteoarthritis, fibromialgia and an autoimmune disease attacking my lungs, sinuses, joints, and skin. It can make movement and exercising regularly difficult and painful. As painful as it is to exercise, not exercising in the long run results in more pain and fatigue.

My former rheumatologist when I was living in Illinois actually gave me extra pain meds to use before exercising to help "get me started," by making exercise less painful. Ironically with arthritis and other chronic pain conditions, taking meds to prevent pain generally allow a person to take less meds than using the same meds to treat the pain once it has gotten severe. I'd also suggest asking about fish oil - I take 2000mg in the am and 2000mg at night. I started taking it when I learned that I couldn't take any other antiinlammatory drugs. It's important to talk to your doctor first, because the fish oil can interact with some meds.

I would HIGHLY recommend checking with your local Arthritis Foundation, Department on Aging and Disability Resources, United Way, doctor, Health Department, YMCA, or google to see if you can find a warm water exercise program (the warmer, the better to start). I started my exercise in such a program, and it was awesome. Not only did it allow me to exercise painlessly, just being in the water relieved much of my pain. It's a shame that every community doesn't have access to such programs, but they are much more common than most people realize - they tend to be hidden treasures - hidden in plain sight, but invisible because they're rarely advertised or promoted.
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:45 PM   #6
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I have RA, not OA, so not the same thing, but I use tiger balm on sore joints before and after workouts. I also go in for acupuncture once a week and get reflexology/massage done as needed, which helps control my overall pain levels.

I don't know if this is typically the case with OA as well, but I find that even though it hurts to start an exercise routine, I have a LOT more pain and stiffness if I'm not getting my exercise in - 250 minutes a week is kind of the bare-bones minimum for me to feel human most of the time. I do long walks (a 3.0 - 3.5 mph pace), gentle yoga, and I go running a few times a week.
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:42 AM   #7
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Water exercise really works well for me. Walking does too but I think it is important to walk on a supportive surface instead of pavement if you can. Also, SuperFeet makes good supports for shoes. My former physical therapist recommended them due to the arthritis in my feet and they do make a difference. They area about $30 for a pair but they are very durable and very supportive. Mine lasted me about 9 months! They make difference levels of supports but the bright green is for heavy walking, and a lot of shoe stores carry them. They are on the internet too I think.

Most of all, I think it is important to be gentle with oneself!

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Old 05-07-2013, 04:24 PM   #8
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I have OA in both knees and PTTD in both feet my feet are in CONSTANT PAIN. I just started a new thread under dieting with obstacles titled KNEE REPLACEMENT & WEIGHT LOSS. Take a look at it I posted what type of exercise I do.
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:41 PM   #9
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Default feet and knees

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garnet2727 View Post

Here's what works for me:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
I find the only thing that works for my legs now is the recumbent bike and I get bored so I basically do it for 10 minutes at the gym then I go do my strength training. I also do water aerobics but it's starting to hurt my knees all the thrashing around.

I use to be able to walk about a mile and a half at the local track but now my feet and knees hurt to much I can't
It's compounded witht the fact that I work part time standing on my feet for 5 hours. By the time I get home I can barely make it from my car to my house.

Keep this in mind. I was able to get a handicapped parking permit from my orthopedic doctor. This is how I approached it.
I went in there with a list of what I CAN'T DO like walking up the steps normal and even going to the bathroom without holding onto something. My employee parking was bit of a distance from my job and when I get off work It's become impossible to walk to I'm in such AGONY I don't even go to the store after work unless it's something major. Anyway I went in there with the Motor Vehicle form already printed out all he had to do was sign it and he did. It's been a true life saver. He had given me temporary ones before and they only last 6 months. My sister who also has knee problems and goes to the same doctor said she asked for one and he gave it to her and I said hmmm my knees are just as bad if not worse then hers let me see If he'll give it to me and he did.
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaplods View Post

I would HIGHLY recommend checking with your local Arthritis Foundation, Department on Aging and Disability Resources, United Way, doctor, Health Department, YMCA, or google to see if you can find a warm water exercise program (the warmer, the better to start). I started my exercise in such a program, and it was awesome. Not only did it allow me to exercise painlessly, just being in the water relieved much of my pain. It's a shame that every community doesn't have access to such programs, but they are much more common than most people realize - they tend to be hidden treasures - hidden in plain sight, but invisible because they're rarely advertised or promoted.
I take my water aerobics classes at the local Y and while they are advertised as warm water sometimes the water is freezing. We have this problem quite often. Lots of us wear tops on over our suits. The therometer is in the pool and it will say 85degrees but the air in the pool area can be cold. We even tell them sometimes to turn up the heat..... I'm on my way there tonight. I've been going for 2 years. Lately it's starting to hurt my knees even doing that so I'll take my weight or sometimes I use the belt in the the shallow end just so my aching feet and hurting knees don't touch the floor.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaplods View Post
I
My former rheumatologist when I was living in Illinois actually gave me extra pain meds to use before exercising to help "get me started,"
I read this about an hour ago and thought to myself I'll try this. I took a pain med and I feel a lot better. .... Off to my water aerobics class.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:43 PM   #12
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Thanks for the input everyone! I completely forgot I posted this until I stumbled upon it again this afternoon.

I started exercising almost 2 weeks ago. Right now I'm just doing some non-weight bearing leg exercises (from physical therapy) to strengthen the muscles to support my knees, some core/ab work on the balance ball, and I've done 2 sessions of arm workouts - I googled PT exercises for shoulder pain. My shoulder is very unhappy with me since the second workout - so I'm resting that now.

Starting in June I will be babysitting my best friend's little girl 3 days a week. She has a pool so I'm going to incorporate some aqua cardio then.

I'm hoping that by the time August rolls around and I'm back to school, I will have lost enough weight and build enough strength to go back to the gym.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:57 PM   #13
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I found this article very encouraging!!

http://www.arthritistoday.org/about-...y-exercise.php
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparks17 View Post
I found this article very encouraging!!

http://www.arthritistoday.org/about-...y-exercise.php
It is encouraging. I have to pay attention to this, though:

Quote:
“If you have no damage to the weight-bearing joints, there would be no reason you couldn’t participate in high-intensity exercise, such as aerobics or jogging,” Dr. Zashin says. “If you have damage in the lower extremities, then no jogging or hard aerobics.
However, there is a lot of other stuff and can do.
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Old 06-27-2013, 12:59 PM   #15
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I do a water aerobics class for arthritics. I also do yoga. You have to keep moving as much as possible to the joints moving at all. Walk as far as you can, then start adding another minute the next time, etc. My doctor told me it was imperative that I exercise. It has helped with the pain a lot and I'm more flexible and move better.
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