Arthritis is a painful and debilitating condition that affects many people around the world. It is a joint disorder that causes inflammation and pain in the joints, and can lead to disability, reduced mobility, and difficulty in performing everyday activities. It is estimated that around 54 million adults in the United States have some form of arthritis. Fortunately, physical activity and exercise can help improve the symptoms of arthritis and slow the progression of the disease. This article will explore what sports are good for arthritis sufferers, and how they can help manage the condition.
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Benefits of Sports for Arthritis Patients
Physical activity has been found to be beneficial for arthritis sufferers, as it can help reduce pain, improve joint flexibility and strength, and increase mobility. Exercise can also help reduce stress, improve overall health and wellbeing, and improve quality of life. Regular physical activity can also reduce the risk of developing other chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Types of Sports for Arthritis Patients
The type of sport that is best for arthritis sufferers depends on the individual, their particular condition and the severity of their arthritis. Some sports are more suitable than others, and it is important to consult a medical professional or physical therapist before starting any physical activity.
Low Impact Sports
Low impact sports such as swimming, cycling, walking, and yoga are ideal for arthritis sufferers as they are less likely to cause further damage to the joints. Swimming is particularly beneficial as it is a low impact exercise that provides a full body workout without putting too much strain on the joints. Cycling can also provide a good cardiovascular workout and help build muscle strength and joint flexibility.
Weight Bearing Sports
Weight bearing sports such as running, tennis, and basketball can also be beneficial for arthritis sufferers. These types of sports can help strengthen muscles and improve mobility and joint flexibility. However, it is important to use the correct form and to take breaks when needed to prevent injury.
Sports for Specific Conditions
Some sports are more suitable for specific types of arthritis. For example, those with osteoarthritis can benefit from low impact sports such as swimming or cycling, while those with rheumatoid arthritis may find running or tennis more beneficial. Those with gout may find that water sports such as rowing or water aerobics are more suitable, as they are less likely to aggravate the condition.
Tips for Participating in Sports with Arthritis
It is important to be aware of the potential risks of participating in sports with arthritis, and to take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of injury or further damage to the joints. Some tips for participating in sports with arthritis include:
- Consult a doctor: It is important to consult a doctor or physical therapist before starting any physical activity. They can help determine which activities are suitable for the individual and monitor their progress.
- Start slow: It is important to start slowly and to gradually increase the intensity and duration of physical activity, as this will help to reduce the risk of injury.
- Use the correct form: It is important to use the correct form and technique when participating in sports to prevent further damage to the joints.
- Warm up and cool down: Warming up and cooling down before and after physical activity can help reduce the risk of injury and improve performance.
- Listen to your body: It is important to listen to your body and to take breaks when needed. If pain persists, it is important to stop and seek medical advice.
- Be prepared: It is important to wear the correct clothing and footwear, and to make sure that the equipment is suitable for the activity.
Sports can be beneficial for arthritis sufferers, as physical activity can help reduce pain, improve joint flexibility and strength, and increase mobility. It is important to consult a doctor or physical therapist before starting any physical activity, and to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration. It is also important to use the correct form and technique, to warm up and cool down before and after physical activity, and to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. With the right precautions and guidance, physical activity can be a safe and effective way to manage arthritis.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Arthritis. Retrieved from cdc.gov/arthritis/
2. Arthritis Foundation. (2020). Exercise and Arthritis. Retrieved from arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/physical-activity/types-of-exercise/exercise-and-arthritis
3. Mayo Clinic. (2020). Exercise: A drug-free approach to lowering high blood pressure. Retrieved from mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046971
4. WebMD. (2020). Arthritis-Friendly Exercises. Retrieved from webmd.com/osteoarthritis/osteoarthritis-exercise#1