Arthritis and Training

Arthritis Effects 350 million people worldwide.

According to the American College of Sports medicine ‘exercise should be an integral part of the treatment plan for individuals with arthritis’. (Wing 2012).

Larry being interviews

Its very understandable that for a lot of people are not sure where to turn especially ladies as they tend to struggle more with the disease (50%) than men.

In this short article we as a coaching team seek to answer any worries and queries you may have to starting an exercise regime.

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When training with arthritis which is an inflammation of the joints exercise needs to be specific and managed. Its extremely important to understand that as someone who has arthritis, your biggest weapon against it is communication.

I believe that when combating one should have a network of support. Especially an exercise professional (one trained with Strength and Conditioning approach) should be sought. Why? You may find you need to adjust your programme on a weekly basis during bouts of inflammation. Also they need to be capable of listening and problem solving to ensure you can continue training.

Exercise NEEDS to be:

  • Safe 

  • Effective

  • Some Cases: Supervised by trainers coached in Arthritits

What is it?

  • Inflammation of the joints. 

  • It can affect one joint or multiple joints. 

  • More than 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods.

  • osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis are the two main types however there are many more!

Who has it?

  • Men and women. But ladies are 50% more likely to have it than their male counterparts!

  • Older adults.

Can you exercise?

  • YES. Furthermore lifting weights (specific exercises programmed by a proffessional trained in coaching people with arthritis) should take priority.

  • However managing bouts of inflammation are vital and to reduce intensity during flare ups

  • Dietary advice = Omega 3 oils and antioxidants. However we have found that sometimes the prescription of omega 3 oils and dosage can be off for a LOT of clients while supplementing on these wonderful supplements.

Why you HAVE to lift weights?

  • You need to keep the muscles and tendons and ligaments around the joints strong in order to help stabilise and control your movement.

  • Loss of mechanical integrity around the joint occurs if muscle mass isnt maintained.

  • Contributing factors to join stress can occur from lack of strength in muscles around the joints.

What exercise to avoid / to do?

    • DON’T use a barbell at the beginning! (Usually too advanced to begin with)

    • Keep impact low with single joint exercises (SLOW controlled movements with ROM focus).

    • Fewer exercises are better at the beginning (Control and balance of joints). 

    • Swimming and moving in the pool can also help.

Joint Pain and Fear

(Again taken from the ACSM article referenced below)

Image of the pain cycle and fear of

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Further Information and References:

Podcast: The Doctor’s Pharmacy with Mark Hyman M.D. (thank you Klara The Rise Pharmacy)

Wing, Cary Ed.D.; Peterson, James A. Ph.D., (2012) FACSMEXERCISE AND ARTHRITIS: Guidelines for the Fitness Professional.

Larry Brady