Why It's So Important to Stay Active if You Have Arthritis

It’s normal to avoid pain, so when you have stiff and painful joints from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, your instinct might be to limit your movements. However, in this case, your instinct is wrong.

Movement and activity are essential parts of arthritis care. Dr. Kimberly Bolling, a caring and expert physician in Bowie, Maryland, explains why. 

Movement lubricates your joints

Your joints are surrounded by tissue known as the synovial membrane. This membrane produces synovial fluid, which reduces friction and lets your joint bones glide over one another, smoothly and easily.

Activity stimulates your synovial membrane to produce more fluid. So when you’re moving your joints, you’re coating them with synovial fluid to make their movement easier and less painful. Movement also increases the circulation of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to your muscles and joints, keeping them strong and healthy.

Exercise strengthens your joint support

The stronger your muscles are, the better they can support your joints so the bones don’t grind together, causing pain and inflammation. If you don’t stay active, your muscles atrophy (i.e., shrink). Because weak muscles can’t carry the weight of your body, that stress goes straight to your joints.

Lifting weights is a great way to build muscle strength, and it can make your bones stronger, too. Cardio exercise — including walking fast, running, and dancing — builds strong muscles and bones, and improves your balance.

Exercise keeps you at a healthy weight

If you have arthritis, it’s more important than ever to lose weight, or stabilize your weight if you’re already at a healthy body mass index (BMI). For every extra pound you carry, you put four pounds of force on your joints. That means if you’re 20 pounds overweight, your joints are dealing with an extra 80 pounds of stress.

Losing weight improves your overall health, too, lowering your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. If you struggle with your weight, Dr. Bolling can help with medically supervised weight loss. You learn a fantastic new way of eating healthy foods, find movement and exercise that you love, and have the support of a caring team of professionals behind you.

Choose activities to get you moving

If the idea of “activity” and “exercise” brings up bad memories of eighth-grade gym class, Dr. Bolling helps you expand your idea of what being active really means. Depending on your current level of activity and your general health, she helps you find easy ways to add more movement into your life so you look forward to being more active, such as:

You can vary your routine by picking a number of activities you enjoy. As you gain strength and flexibility, you can try out new exercises, too.

To get relief from arthritis pain and find out how to add more activity into your life, contact our office at Kimberly Bolling, MD, by phone, or request an appointment using our convenient online scheduler. You can also send our team a message here on our website.

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