By: Guest Author
Published: October 7, 2020
Written by Rae Steinbach- Guest Contributor
54 million people in the U.S. suffer from arthritis on a daily basis. If you are one of them, you know what it’s like to cancel plans and “sit this one out” to avoid a flare up. It’s not fun and you, along with the other 23% of the adult population dealing with arthritis deserve better. Pain, aching, and stiffness in the joints can make simple tasks seem unbearable, but medication isn’t the only answer.
While there is no cure for arthritis, you can manage it and keep the pain at bay by doing small exercises everyday to care for your joints. One of the easiest ways to treat arthritis is with daily stretching, which loosens the joints to keep them from becoming stiff. There are four main areas of the body where arthritis is most commonly found, so we’ve rounded up easy exercises for each to ease the pain and get you back on your feet.
For the Ankles: Alphabet Rolls
Our feet and ankles have 33 joints — perfect for arthritis to wreak havoc. The ankle is particularly susceptible to arthritis, so it’s important to do daily stretching to keep it strong. In addition, you should invest in some quality men’s or women’s sneakerswith orthotic level support.
If you have arthritis in your ankle or are trying to prevent it, try this fun exercise: the Ankle Alphabet. While sitting in a chair, lift one foot off the ground and spell out each letter of the alphabet with your foot. Repeat to the other side. This not only targets the ankle, it also stretches and strengthens the foot and toes.
For the Shoulders: Crossover Arm Stretch
This super easy stretch can be done morning and night to alleviate the tension held in your shoulders. In a standing position, cross one arm in front of the body so that it is parallel with the floor. Bend your bottom arm and use your hand as a rest for the arm that is crossing over the body. You should feel a gentle stretch in the shoulder of the arm that is crossed. Repeat to the other side and finish with a few more reps.
For the Thoracic Spine: Child’s Pose
Child’s pose, which is a commonly used position in yoga, is ideal for giving a gentle lower back stretch. When your back feels achy, sit on your legs with knees touching and gently reach forward with your arms outstretched on the floor in front of you. This passive stretch does wonders for your back and can also be modified into a hip stretch by simply opening the knees.
For the Hips: Seated Leg Lifts
Targeting the hips without overdoing a stretch can be tricky, so here is a simple, low effort exercise that will strengthen the joints overtime. Start off seated in a chair with feet planted firmly on the ground. Lift one leg slowly upward until it is about a foot off the ground, then put it back down. Start with 10 or 20 reps before switching to the other leg.
Think of these stretches as a long term care plan, rather than a quick fix. You’ll need to continue the regimen on a regular basis to see lasting results. Don’t forget to wear supportive women’s or men’s sneakers everyday to alleviate the pressure of walking!
Our author’s bio is:
“Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing (of course).”
Twitter handle: @araesininthesun
The views expressed herein this article, written by a guest contributor, do not necessarily represent those of the Red Hot Mamas organization. The content is for informational purposes and should not substitute the advice of your doctor.