EverydayHealth.com recently produced a detailed slideshow featuring 7 exercises for those suffering from Arthritis. With the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that as many as one in three adults over age 65 fall each year.
Arthritis can increase one's chances of falling because it often will cause weakening of the muscles that control your stability and balance
Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are especially at risk. Along with those suffering from joint pain, because you may change your gait to compensate from the discomfort. " The way you change your gait may cause you to lose your balance and fall" Sharon Kolanski, MD, head of rheumatology at Cooper University Hospital.
Many of the below activities have been found to improve stability and mobility in people suffering from Arthritis. Hopefully one of these exercise will assist you with your condition.
- Tai Chi
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art. It features very slow and steady movements aimed to increase your balance and strength.
A South Korean study of women with osteoarthritis found that the strength in their knees and their bone's density improved after six months of tai chi practice. The subjects were also less afraid of falling. “There is good evidence that tai chi can be good for fall prevention,” Dr. Kolasinski confirms. “It comes from the fact that it focuses on balance and strength.”
Here is a great example of a Tai Chi exercise workout tailored for fall prevention:
Water exercises are a fantastic way for people suffering from arthritis to move and use these muscles without stressing or worsening the joint's pain.
A Canadian medical study found that those with osteoarthrits lowered their risk of falling with two water exercise classes a week.
Dr. Kolasinski adds the additional benefit of heated water on your aching joints.
- Balance Exercises
Balance Exercises include standing on one foot, hip extensions, walking heel to toe, and back leg raises. These exercises do not need any special equipment and can be done in your bedroom.
For further reference and demonstration check out our feature on the 8 part Fall Prevention YouTube video series here.
For older adults, walking one of the simples and best endurance exercises.
Walking will get your breathing and heart rate up for an extended period of time.
It is low-impact and can help one increase their stability.
- Weight Training
Start small, as small as lifting an eight ounce soup can and slowly work your way to a ten ounce soup can. Gradually increasing your weight training regiment while specifically targeting those muscles surrounding the joints with osteoarthritis.
Temple University researchers found that women 65 and older after nine weeks of yoga were more stable on their feet.
A second study at Johns Hopkins University reported that after eight weeks of yoga their swelling and joint tenderness reduced in people with rheumatoid arthritis. “When you lower your pain, you reduce your risk for falls,” Dr. Kolasinski says.
Stretching is a simple way to improve your flexibility and, from there stamina and balance for preventing falls.
The Arthritis Foundation urges 15 minutes of stretching every day.
Stretch your neck, upper arms, lower back, chest, shoulders, calves, hips, and thighs.
With each stretch, start slowly and work to the desired position. Hold in the desired position, 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat and try to stretch the pose further each time. Three to five stretches per body region is recommended.
For more fall prevention information and organizations visit Live Oak's fall prevention resource section.