The Best Exercises for Arthritis in the Shoulders

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  • Arthritis in the Shoulders

    Arthritis in the Shoulders

    Having arthritis may make you may feel like you need a shoulder to lean on.

    Each shoulder contains a joint supported by muscles, along with ligaments and tendons. Arthritis causes inflammation in the joints, as well as a breakdown in the cartilage that cushions your bones. This causes the characteristic pain and stiffness of arthritis.

    You may be afraid to perform activities you love for fear of worsening shoulder pain, but certain exercises can actually help relieve arthritis symptoms.

  • Cycle Through the Pain

    Cycle Through the Pain

    Cycling is one of the most effective ways to exercise with arthritis shoulder pain. Whether you ride your bike outdoors or use a stationary bike inside, the key is to make sure the handlebars are at an appropriate level. If they’re too low, you’ll end up putting more strain on already-stiff shoulder joints.

    Try a recumbent bike without handlebars for indoor cycling. This places more focus on your legs and core. Mountain bikes tend to be the best options for outdoors because of their higher handlebar placement.

  • Take Advantage of Gym Memberships

    Take Advantage of Gym Memberships

    Let’s face it: very few people have the space or money to invest in elaborate gym equipment. If you have a gym membership, now is the time to put it to good use.

    Instead of trying to bulk up with heavily weighted machines, focus on cardio machines at the gym. These help to condition your body, promote healthy posture, and take pressure off your shoulder joints. Consider the following machines:

    • elliptical
    • treadmill
    • stair-stepper
    • stationary bike

  • “Push-Up” Against Shoulder Pain

    “Push-Up” Against Shoulder Pain

    Push-ups are considered one of the best all-around exercises because they work muscles in your upper-body and core while increasing your metabolic rate. You can still do push-ups with shoulder arthritis, but you’ll need to make some modifications.

    Instead of pushing away the floor, consider wall push-ups to ensure better alignment and less shoulder strain. Perform a few reps a day and only increase the duration if you don’t experience any pain.

  • Find Your “Om”

    Find Your “Om”

    Pilates and yoga are known for building strength and flexibility, while incorporating breathing exercises for refined movement. Such workouts are effective for shoulder arthritis because they strengthen both the upper and lower body without the high impact.

    Talk with your instructor about modifying some yoga positions for your condition. Avoid poses that will add extra strain to the shoulders, such as downward dog.

  • Don’t Rule Out Walking

    Don’t Rule Out Walking

    You may walk to burn off fat or some steam, but regular walking may even help you burn off shoulder pain. This low-impact workout is most effective when you stand up tall with your shoulders back.

    Not only can a daily walk improve your mood and keep your weight in check, but it can also help decrease swelling and stiffness in your joints.

  • Tips for Lifting Weights

    Tips for Lifting Weights

    Strength-training plays a key role in increasing muscle mass and bone density. When you’re diagnosed with arthritis in the shoulder, you may have a misconception that you can no longer lift weights, but this isn’t entirely true.

    The key is to focus on exercises that don’t require raising weights above the shoulders. Traditional bicep curls, bench presses, and pectoral chest flies are all appropriate. The American College of Rheumatology recommends eight to 12 reps of each strength-training exercise, up to three times per week.

  • Don’t Shoulder the Burden Alone

    Don’t Shoulder the Burden Alone

    Exercising to relieve shoulder arthritis requires a high level of commitment. This is why having a support system is critical. Invite your family members to exercise with you, or enlist the help of friends for extra motivation and encouragement.

    Don’t forget to discuss your exercise plans with a doctor first. They’ll make sure your workouts are safe and can give you some extra tips for success. While you shouldn’t exercise during times of pain, make sure you don’t entirely avoid working out either.

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