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Active Healing Centre

Exercise

Shaping up

As our (or at least my) thoughts turn to spring, it’s time to get into shape so we can enjoy playing sports while minimizing the risk of injury.  Here are some suggestions to make getting into shape more enjoyable without the pain.  For all programs, you should check with your medical practitioner first.

Start

  • Apply heat to sore joints.
  • Stretch and warm up with range of motion exercise.
  • Start strengthening exercises slowly and with small weights.
  • Progress slowly.
  • Use a cold pack after exercise.
  • Add aerobic exercise.
  • Find an exercise program that you enjoy and that is right for you.

Range-of-Motion

  • These are gentle stretching exercises which moves the joint as far as possible, without pain or discomfort.
  • These exercises need to be done daily to help keep the joints mobile and to prevent stiffness and swelling.
  • Some examples include forward ankle circles, arm reach, head turns, knee lifts, and shoulder circles.

Stretching

  • Flexibility is key to preventing injuries.
  • Staying relaxed is important.
  • Breathe slowly while stretching.
  • Some examples include finger spread, hamstring stretch, and side bends.

Strengthening

  • Stronger muscles help support the joints, making them more stable and allowing easy movement with less pain.
  • Start with a few repetitions, then build up to ten per set.
  • Hold the contractions for six seconds, and repeat 5 – 10 times.
  • The muscle groups that should be strengthened are the arms, hands, hips, legs, neck, and shoulders.

Endurance

  • Aerobic exercises improve cardiovascular fitness, control weight, improve health.
  • Examples include cycling, dancing swimming, and walking, and also yoga and tai chi.

Reference: Straight Talk, Arthritis and Exercise booklet