Over 4.6 million Canadian adults (one in six Canadians aged 15 years and older) report having arthritis. By 2036, this number is expected to grow to an estimated 7.5 million Canadian adults (one in five). The term arthritis (“arthro” meaning joint, “itis” meaning inflammation) is used to refer to more than 100 related conditions. This disease can strike anyone, regardless of age, physical condition, often with devastating and debilitating effects. Arthritis brings with it a burden of pain and disability that those living with this disease must face every day. The main symptoms of arthritis are chronic joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, resulting in significant disability and poor quality of life.
Arthritis causes severe joint pain and inflammation, which can mean not being able to get dressed, open a door, or even hold a fork. In Canada, approximately one in six (around four million) Canadian adults aged 15 years and older have arthritis. Arthritis is among Canada’s prevailing chronic conditions, more common than heart disease and cancer.
5 Easy and Gentle Exercises for Arthritis Pain
1. Chair Stand – this movement will help build leg muscles.
- Begin sitting on a normal-height chair, stand up, and then sit back down. Make sure that when you sit back down, you do not plop down, and you control the motion the entire way. This will help not only build leg muscles, but also strengthen your core, which can help ease back pain. If you need assistance, reach your arms down for the chair. As you get stronger, you will notice that you need this assistance less and less. Try doing 10–15 reps.
- If you find this too easy for you, find a chair that is lower than normal.
- If you find this too difficult, find a chair that is higher than normal.
2. Hand Stretch – this movement will help people with finger and hand pain.
- Spread your fingers as wide as they can go, and then make a fist.
- Repeat this stretching and squeezing motion.
- You can also do this exercise by squeezing a small ball.
3. Shoulder Squeeze and Wrist Stretch – this movement will help stiff shoulders and wrists
- Place palms and fingers together and stretch them out in front of you.
- Pull your hands in towards your chest, making your elbows point out to the sides.
- Press palms together as you move them closer to your body and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
4. Leg Lift with Ankle Movements – this movement will help both your knees and ankles.
- Sitting upright in a chair, keep your abdominal muscles tight and straighten one knee.
- Keeping your knee slightly bent, point your toe and then flex your toe to the ceiling.
- Lower leg and repeat with the other leg.
5. Walking – this allows you to stretch your legs and prevent stiffness that can be a result of inactivity.
- Use good posture keeping your back straight, abdominal muscles tight, your chest high and swing your arms for added difficulty.