Gout is an arthritic condition that effects the joints, namely the big toe, feet, ankle, wrist and fingers. Gout is said to be cause by a build of in uric acid over time in the body due to diet and obesity. Although it is mostly found in men, women can also suffer from this condition. The good news is Gout symptoms can be cured or at least relieved with proper diet and exercise. A diet full of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and plenty of water is recommended as a step in the right direction to decrease the uric acid in the body and to relieve gout symptoms. Avoiding foods that can potentially raise the uric acid level, such as seafood, high protein foods, breads and alcohol is also recommended.
Exercises to relieve gout should be done steady and cautiously as to avoid further irritation to the joints. The best exercises for gout are range of motion types: strength training, stretching and building endurance. Yoga is an exercise that incorporates all four; however, there are other exercises that can be done individually also.
Note of Caution
A physician should be consulted before beginning exercises for gout. Exercise helps to stop further build up of uric acid; it does not get rid of the uric acid like a proper diet can. It is also worth mentioning that exercise should cease when gout flair ups occur, as exercise would only agitate inflamed joints. Exercise can begin again once pain has decreased.
Range of Motion
Exercises that improve mobility are good for reducing gout symptoms. When joints are inflamed, there is pain associated with it. This pain can cause a decrease in motion as a way to avoid the pain. But, when movement is decreased, it increases stiffness and ultimately weight gain--both of which can cause gout symptoms to worsen. The less the joint is used, the more stiffness will occur. However, the more range of motion type exercises done, the better the chance of regaining the motion and reducing the stiffness.
The benefit of strength training for gout is that this type of exercise builds muscle mass that can be lost when range of movement is limited. With lack of motion due to joint pain, muscles relax and began to shrink. This may cause more problems with gout and other areas of the body. The use of light weights at first and then building to a heavier weight can begin to build muscle mass. Light squats for the thigh area can build up muscles and make the area stronger.
Stretching with gout is ideal because stretching promotes the decrease of build up of uric acid in the body. Stretching exercises will also increase flexibility in the joints and range of motion. Stretching the muscles before and after a working ensures less damage to the muscles and joints. It also decreases soreness that can occur after a workout.
Upon increasing the level of exercise, the endurance level increases. Being consistent with an exercise program will ultimately increase endurance and yield better results.