Have you been told that you have to lose weight to help your osteoarthritis? But how do you exercise with osteoarthritis?
This is a very common and annoying situation as many people are told that they need to exercise to lose weight for their arthritis. The catch often being that they are in too much pain to exercise!
If you read my last blog on arthritis you would understand my concerns around exercise and arthritis.
However if you are wanting to lose weight there are 3 areas that need addressing to achieve this;
Energy input, energy output and mindset! All 3 are critical if you want to lose weight with osteoarthritis. Some people may find one of these aspects easier than the other and you may already have one or more of them sorted! Here is the first one…
This is for some the dreaded factor…energy output refers to how much energy you need to expend to lose weight. This relates directly to exercise. Obviously the type of exercise that you can do relates directly to where your arthritis is and how much pain and physical restrictions that you have.
The idea with exercise to lose weight with Osteoarthritis is all about raising your heart rate for at least 20 minutes daily. This is the calorie crunching criteria (and fat burning) and it can be achieved through any aerobic exercise (e.g. walking, cycling, swimming, aerobics classes etc)
The good news is that exercise in the water will add nearly no stress to your joints so it is the safest most effective way to exercise. Warm or hot water will also help the muscles to loosen as well. While swimming is great for those who like to swim some dislike swimming and this is off-putting.
If you don’t like swimming that is no problem there are many other ways to exercise in water that are beneficial. Aqua aerobics is excellent and often very appropriate for arthritis sufferers. IF your local pool doesn’t off such a service you may be able to find someone to write you a program or you could get some ideas from books on the subject (or google!). Otherwise water walking or water jogging are also excellent (this can be done either with literal walking/jogging along the pool floor or in the deep end with an exercise belt around the waist to keep you suspended in the water so that your feet don’t touch the bottom, i.e. no impact and you don’t move far either!).
The key is that whatever exercise that you do it shouldn’t irritate your joints and cause significant pain, if it does it is time to look for another way to exercise!