One of best beneficial activities we could do for ourselves is a simple daily morning walk. Walking not only strengthen our cardiovascular system but also help us capture the 'Sunshine Vitamin D'. The benefit of vitamin D is that it aids calcium in building our bone density. A vitamin deficiency in our body can cause many health problems including the common modern arthritis symptoms, slow healing, muscle cramps and osteoporosis.
If you wish to lead a healthy life, physical activity is vital as it improves muscle strength, builds stamina and allows joints to move more easily, with less pain and swelling. No matter the severity of your arthritis, there are still appropriate forms of exercise that can provide benefits without harming your joints.
When rheumatoid arthritis strikes you, it means the lining of the synovial capsule within the joint becomes inflamed. The inflammation will cause the breakdown and swelling of the synovial tissue and weakens the tendons, ligaments and joint capsule. When synovial fluid decreases in quality, inhibiting nourishing cleansing and lubrication of the joint while the lining of the capsule overgrows in an attempt to heal. The joint weakens and ultimately stiffens, unless the process is reversed.
In osteoarthritis, degenerative processes start in the joint or disc space and can spread to the nearby bone. These changes often lead to the formation of bone spurs (excess bone) that painfully grate on other bone.
Doing exercise induces the manufacture of synovial fluid and circulates it throughout the entire joint space. When this happen, it increases circulation of both the blood and lymphatic systems, which ultimately reduces swelling, removes waste products, and increase the delivery of oxygen and nutrients for joint healing. When you do exercise, it strengthens shock-absorbing muscles and ligaments around the joints, taking pressure off the joints.
The purpose of an arthritis exercise program is to increase your joint flexibility, muscle strengthen and stamina, without putting undue stress on the joints. Your choice of exercise depends on your personal preferences. You may wish to do bicycling, walking (my preference is morning walk), martial arts, swimming, cross-country skiing, rowing or water exercises. Among all, yoga workout has been found to be helpful as it strengthens the muscles and joints through stretching. Even though people who had joints that are too painful to exercise during arthritis flare-ups, gentle stretching maintains healthy muscles, tendones,ligaments and bones and improves mobility of the joints themselves.
People who overexert themselves physically have been known to shorten life expectancy by producing free radicals and premature degeneration at the cellular level. Due to this, Chinese martial arts such as tai chi or chi kung are better choice of exercise. Chi kung gave a calming effect on the whole nervous system and at the same time stimulates the immune system and is favorable for the healing of inflamed or degenerated tissue. This could be because chi kung strengthen one's physical and mental powers by opening the energy pathways (meridians) throughout the body. As your body continues to move in stretching and flexing movements, circulation is enhanced, strengthening the spirit and life within the body and disease cannot find a place to settle.
For those suffering from arthritic conditions, chi kung is the perfect exercise as it simulates the twelve meridians and firms muscle tone. For example, one of the powerful yet stress-free exercises in chi kung is called embracing the tree. It opens all the meridians so that energy circulates freely throughout your body systems, including the muscles, skins, bones, organs and brains. This exercise aids in toxin elimination and increases immunity needed for fighting many diseases, including osteoarthritis. For older people with physical disabilities, learning chi kung helped their muscles to become less stiff and finally pain free. Chi kung is a potent and effective way of aiding those suffering from rheumatism.
Be sure to pick an exercise that makes you feel alive and happy. If you feel more disciplined with a group, then invite friends and other kindred spirits who share your same needs. For instance, dance methods can be modified to lower impact and they can help your flexibility and posture. Dancing can provide you with a range of motion, endurance and repetition training and it can lift your spirit and drive away depression. Choosing your own background music can certainly help prevent any boredom that sometimes sets in during a workout routine. Most importantly, keep in mind that staying in shape is not only good for your body but also good for your joints.
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