Arthritis is a very commonly occurring condition of all ages, with over 10 million cases every year in India alone. While most people think it is a solitary disease, it is not so. Arthritis is actually a collective term for over a hundred different ailments that can cause pain and inflammation in the bones and tissues of joint areas. Technically, arthritis is chronic and not something that can be cured. However, with the help of medication, physiotherapy and most importantly exercising, one can try and not let arthritis stand in way of their enjoying life.
Stretching with strap Stretching is always good for the body, especially if you have a work where you have to sit at the desk for long hours. You can carry a stretching nylon strap with built-in loops and try out a simple exercise twice a day even at the office. Put your toes and palms through the loops and straighten your leg sitting in an upright position, stretching on the straps as much as possible.
Chair Stand : For those who have arthritis in the lower portion of their body can try out the time-tested exercise of chair stand. The method is simple – sit down on a chair that fits your sitting height and stand back up. Repeat 12-15 times. If the normal height is too easy, go for a lower chair; and if it is difficult and painful, use a higher chair and take the help of the side arms of the chair.
Tai Chi : Tai Chi actually is a form of training for Chinese martial arts, meant to strengthen the body from inside. It includes smooth movements that involve the whole body in a fluid motion. Learn the movements from a trainer or a video tutorial and try to duplicate them. Tai chi will help you to increase body strength, endurance, and mobility and reduce the pain that arthritis causes. It is suggested that you do it for as long as you can walk comfortably, which can be anything between 10-20 minutes.
Shoulder Bridge : The exercise called Shoulder Bridge is part of the Pilates exercise. Here, you have to lay on your back, keep your hands at your side and bend your knees, then contract the abdomen as you lift your pelvis up and bring it down after 3 seconds. Repeat for 12-15 times. Remember to exhale as you lift the pelvis and inhale as you bring it down. There is no need to arch the back or put pressure on your knees.
Ball squeezing : This is the most commonly suggested exercise by doctors and experts to those with arthritic tendencies in hands and fingers. Take a foam ball, squeeze in within your palms in the same motion as you would do to make a fist and reopen the fingers. Keep doing it for 10-15 times. The best thing about this exercise, you can literally do it anywhere, anytime, even while having a conversation with someone.
One-sided plank : Usually, by planking, people understand raising their whole body on their toes and palms or arms. However, here, you can do it with one knee resting on the ground and another leg outstretched behind; your one hand on the ground – palms down and elbow straight, and another hand outstretched in front. The angle from your outstretched fingertips to your toes must be straight, with no back or neck arch. Exchange position from left to right and back after holding for 3-4 seconds. This exercise is very helpful for those with spine and back problems.
One leg dip : For those with arthritic issues in the knee joints, they can try the one leg dip anywhere. Hold on to the back of a chair or even a wall. Lift and straighten one leg in front of you for about one foot; then slowly bend the other leg at the knee and lower your body a few inches like a squat. Make sure that the knee of the bent leg does not cross that of the lifted leg. Hold for 5 seconds and switch legs.
Walking in the water : This is not exactly an anywhere-anytime type of exercise. But if you have access to the swimming pool with less depth, then walking for a few rounds in the shallow end of the water can be of great help. Because of the enhance buoyancy in water, movement of the body is much easier than on land.
Shoulder blade rotation : For those suffering from arthritis in the shoulders, this is a quick handy exercise. Standing in neutral position with hands by your side, raise the shoulders towards your ears and hold it for 5 seconds; squeeze the shoulders together and hold for 5; again push them downwards and hold for 5. Repeat the same thing 10 times.
Neck tilt : Neck tilt is something we do all the time to relieve stress. Slowly tilt your head towards one shoulder, hold it there for 5 seconds as you keep the opposite shoulder down and not let it rise. Bring your neck and head back to the straight position and repeat for the opposite side as well.