Over 54 million people suffer from arthritis in the United States. That’s 1 in 5 adults, the CDC reports. Shockingly, research shows that an overwhelming number of children — over a quarter million – are affected by the painful inflammation and stiffness of joints (where two different bones meet) like the wrists, knees, and ankles. Meanwhile, more than half of those with arthritis are under 65 years of age and nearly 60% of are women.
So, what are some symptoms associated with arthritis?
- joint stiffness
- warm sensation
- tenderness in the inflamed joint
Meanwhile, experts suggest stretching to calm painful symptoms and inflammation. Here’s where to start:
For individuals who need a little lower body help.
How to: Sitting in a normal-height chair, stand up and sit down, ensuring you focus on controlling the motion, using your arms to assist you if necessary. Complete 10 to 15 reps.
This stretch is ideal for loosening up your lower body, readying it for high-intensity activities like hiking, bicycling, running, hiking – you name it.
How to: Stand with your feet a shoulder-width apart and your hands resting at your sides. Shift your weight to your left leg, while bending your right knee slightly and lifting your right heel off the ground. Swing your right leg forward and backward, allowing for full extension of the knee. Complete 10 to 15 reps on each side.
Tip, keep your back straight
Loosen your ankle joints, making activities like walking, running, and hiking a breeze.
How to: Sit on the edge of a chair. With feet planted firmly on the ground and hands resting on your thighs, extend your left leg while lifting your foot off the ground. Move the raised foot in counterclockwise motions 5 times and reverse. Complete 10 to 15 reps.
Increase motion in the shoulders, while serving as a warm-up for other activities may follow.
How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Extend your arms to the side with your palms facing down. Slowly move arms in a circular motion, gradually making larger circles. Reverse direction of circles every 5 movements. Complete 10 to 15 reps.
More ways to manage symptoms include:
- Get active. Per the CDC, physical activity like walking, bicycling, and swimming decreases symptoms and improves function, mood, and quality of life. Experts suggest at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. In other words, 30 minutes, 5 days a week, or for as little as 10 minutes at a time.
- Join a Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, that will equip you with the skills and confidence to live with arthritis.
- Maintain a healthy weight to protect joints like the knees. Shy away activities that are more likely to cause joint injuries.
- Last but certainly not least, talk with a doctor about what options may be right for you, whether physical activity, a self-management education program or a combo deal.