Gentle Exercises for Seniors with Arthritis
Over 100 different conditions fall under the term arthritis, but fortunately they all have similar treatments. The most notable treatments are adequate rest, exercise, a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods, and, for some, medications prescribed by your doctor. While you may want to just take it easy when your arthritis is flaring up, doing a few easy exercises can help relieve some tension. Our caregiving experts in Sussex County put together a list of gentle but effective exercises to minimize arthritis pain if you’re looking for a great place to start!
Arthritis in Your Hands or Wrists
- Fist close: This exercise can maintain finger flexibility. Simply close your hand into a fist (slowly if necessary) and hold for five seconds, or as long as possible. Release and repeat this ten times on both hands.
- Wrist bends: Regularly performing this exercise will help maintain the flexibility of your wrists. Place your elbow on a comfortable height table with your hand pointed to the ceiling. Slowly push back your palm with the other hand. Do this slowly and stop if you feel pain. Hold for five seconds, and then release. Continue to do this 10 times, in both directions with both of your hands.
- Make an “O”: Hands down the most challenging exercise out of the three, but it is very beneficial. Attempt to make an “O” shape with your hand, holding your fingers together while bending your thumb to your index finger. Hold for five seconds, release and repeat 10 times. If you can’t make the full “O” yet, this exercise will improve your flexibility with time.
Arthritis in Your Hips or Knees
- Sitting stretch: This exercise will gently move your hips while stretching your legs. Sit on the floor (chair or bed) with your legs extended in front of you. Slowly bend forward and reach for your feet. You might not be able to reach far at first, but if you practice this regularly, your flexibility will improve.
- Step-ups: Relieve knee pain with this exercise – to start, find the nearest staircase with a railing. Hold onto the railing for balance and step one leg onto the bottom step and follow with the other foot. Move backward off the step one leg at a time and repeat.
Arthritis in Your Feet
- Ankle Circles: For added stability, hold onto something like the side of a chair or railing. Stand up and raise one foot off the floor, point your toe, and draw a circle with your foot by only moving your ankle. Draw five circles and then change direction and draw five more. Repeat these steps for both ankles.
Arthritis in Multiple Areas
- Swimming reduces the weight on your joints, allowing you to move more extensively with less pain. A water aerobics class is a great option for a full-body workout, while taking it easy on your joints.
- Yoga or Tai Chi are both gentle exercises that focus on breathing, flexibility, and balance. As you get stronger in these areas, the arthritis pain will lessen.
Stretch and Exercise at UMC at Bristol Glen
You can do the exercises we shared almost anywhere, but your motivation always increases when professional guidance is involved. At UMC at Bristol Glen, we have on-site exercise physiologists and physical therapists that can assist you as you stretch to ensure safety, guidance, and next steps. We understand that fitness is not a one-size-fits-all approach and can modify plans for seniors of all capabilities.
For more information on our Continued Care Retirement Community in Sussex County, or any of our other senior communities across New Jersey, please contact United Methodist Communities and book your visit today. https://umcommunities.org/bristolglen/