We know that being in lockdown (hopefully not for too much longer if all goes to plan!) will make us all sadly exercise less. If you have arthritis, and I estimate that over 65% of our members do, then it makes it even harder to stay active.
There are many types of arthritis and it can affect all ages and all joints in our bodies. There is no cure for arthritis but being as mobile as possible and structured exercise can help reduce the symptoms. The natural inclination when you suffer from arthritis is to keep the joint still, due to the pain, however exercise can help by…
- Strengthen the muscles around your joints – so supporting them and taking pressure off the joint
- Maintain bone strength
- Make it easier to get a good night’s sleep – which is when the body repairs itself
- Help you control your BMI – having this in the ‘normal’ range puts less stress on the joints
At Shapers we consider the joints when we exercise by keeping the impact low. Low impact alternatives like recumbent bicycles vs normal upright ones, air pressure vs pulley weights are the norm for us. But what can we do at home in lockdown? Please find some suitable exercise below. Before trying them please make sure that you warm up first. And anyone, whether you have arthritis or otherwise, need to start to exercise slowly when we haven’t for a while.
Here are some suitable exercises that you can carry out at home:
Leg Raises This exercise is good to help your knee joints as it strengthens the large muscles on the fronts of your thighs (quadriceps) that attach to your knee joints.
- Lie flat on your back on the floor or sit on a chair with your arms at your sides.
- Keep your leg straight while tightening your leg muscles, and slowly lift it several inches. Try to keep the toes up.
- Tighten your stomach muscles to push your lower back down/backwards.
- Hold and count to 5, then lower your leg as slowly as possible.
- Repeat, then switch to the other leg.
Single Leg Dips This exercise strengthens the muscles on the fronts and backs of your thighs, as well as your glutes (bottom).
- Stand between two chairs and hold on to them for balance. Or stand in a doorway holding on to the frame.
- Lift one leg about 12 inches and hold it out in front of you.
- Slowly, keeping your back straight, bend the other leg and lower your body a few inches, as if you were about to sit in a chair. Don’t cross the lifted leg in front of the bent leg.
- Hold for 5 seconds and straighten back up.
- Repeat and switch legs.
Shoulder elevation stretch This exercise improves the range of motion in the shoulder joints and stretches the muscles.
- Lie on your back.
- Hold a stick/broom handle/walking stick with both hands, keeping them shoulder-width apart.
- Place the handle or stick gently on the thighs.
- Slowly raise the pole up past the chest, then over the head so that it is almost touching the floor above the head. Keep the arms as straight as possible throughout.
- Lower the handle or stick slowly back down to the thighs.
I really look forward to seeing you soon, fingers crossed on the 12th of April. I will be in contact closer to the time with all the exciting developments that we have planned.
Lynda & all the Shapers Team