In Pain? Get Moving!
Exercise might seem like the worst thing for stiff, aching joints. But it might be just what people with arthritis need. Completing an eight-week program specially designed for people with arthritis improved range of motion and reduced pain and fatigue, according to a study of 346 patients conducted by the Thurston Arthritis Research Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Bonus: While pool-based exercise is frequently recommended for people with arthritis, the study looked at routines that could be done while sitting or standing. Some classes included floor work.
Who Was Studied?
The study, published last month, included people with self-reported arthritis severe enough to limit their normal activities. The average participant's age was 70. "We were specifically evaluating the people with the least amount of activity coming in," said Leigh Callahan, the UNC-CH associate professor of medicine who led the study. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in this country, affecting about 46 million Americans.
What Exercises Worked?
Participants did movements such as lifting their arms overhead or getting up and down from a chair. Workouts also incorporated stretching with resistance bands and light weight-lifting. The routine is known as the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program. Many movements can be done at home and require no equipment.