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How to exercise with arthritis pain

June 4, 2012

Exercise is often cited as one of the most effective ways to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with the arthritis, not to mention it's one of the tenets of a healthy lifestyle for seniors. Given the pain and stiffness that come with arthritis, exercising may seem impossible, but experts say there are certain ways to get around these discomforts, according to Prevention magazine.

The key, some doctors say, rests in how a person deals with pain. Of course, increasing one's pain threshold is easier said than done, but it is possible. To start, experts recommend talking things over with a professional. A physical therapist will be able to tell patients which exercises are best for their given condition and offer guidelines for the smartest course of action.

Most physical therapists will probably advise their patients to start small, and this is certainly a wise move. According to the publication, starting with simple exercises is a good idea because it can release feel-good hormones that may encourage patients to work their way up to a more substantial exercise.

Working through the pain is essential because experts say there's no other way to tell if a patient is making any progress. With no starting level, there's no way to measure any improvements in pain that may be made over the course of the exercise regimen.

The importance of exercise as a treatment option for arthritis has gained traction over the last several months. In fact, The Arthritis Foundation recently released a report aimed at encouraging everything from health agencies to businesses to recreation facilities to provide opportunities for older arthritis patients to exercise.

"Effectively educating people about the important role of physical activity in managing arthritis is an urgent task," said Dr. John H. Klippel, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation. "This report will lead to greater collaboration with our colleagues across a number of professions to make physical activity safe and accessible for adults with the condition."

According to the foundation, as many as 50 million adults in the United States suffer from arthritis, and for many it is an obstacle on the road to healthy aging. The organization says that despite the benefits of staying active, many arthritis patients are sedentary.