If you have arthritis, your doctors may have recommended living a healthier lifestyle as a strategy to minimize the progression of the condition. Although it can sound hopeless if you have significant pain (especially in a weight-bearing joint), there are ways to shed excess pounds and start engaging in physical activity.
Start with Your Diet
When you need to take excess weight off your joints, it is best to start focusing on your diet. Although the logic of burning more calories than you consume is a good place to start, finding a lifestyle that helps you lose weight and maintain your weight loss is a little more complicated. Spend time keeping a food journal without changing your diet. Include information on what you ate, how you felt physically and mentally, and your level of hunger. You might be surprised at how different foods affect your level of hunger and how frequently you feel hungry. Furthermore, your mental and physical state can be a factor in how hungry you feel and which foods you want. It is much easier to eat fewer calories when you eat more of the foods that do not exacerbate hunger and figure out what mental triggers lead to poor lifestyle choices.
Start incorporating exercise slowly so you can gauge which exercises you are capable of doing without exacerbating pain. The easiest exercises when you have arthritis are strength-building with resistance bands or free weights. These are easier because you can work around limitations by focusing on muscle groups that do not involve the painful joint. You might also realize that, even with arthritis, you can perform some exercises, as long as you do not lift heavier weights. When you are ready to incorporate cardio, stick to low-impact exercises. The elliptical or stationary bike can be easier on weight-bearing joints than the treadmill or stair climber. Although swimming or other forms of water activity are the easiest on your joints, try to incorporate some weight-bearing exercises to keep your bones strong.
Talk about Pain Management
You should discuss the options available to help manage arthritis pain. For many people, having pain control is essential for performing daily activities or for regularly engaging in an exercise program. Most people with chronic arthritis pain take some form of anti-inflammatory medications, even if they use them sparingly. These medications are helpful for reducing swelling that can make your pain worse. You might also want to discuss with your doctor the possibility of corticosteroid injections. If your arthritis affects only one joint, having injections occasionally can help you with pain and may give you renewed use of the joint for many months. Most primary care doctors administer corticosteroid injections without the need for specialist referral.
Trying to lead a healthier lifestyle when you have arthritis can seem like an impossible task. Since you can't exercise away a bad diet, start with focusing on your diet and slowly improve in other areas. For more information contact providers like Snow Creek Medical Center.Share
25 March 2018
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