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Making exercise a part of your routine might sound crazy if you deal with gout pain. And while exercise isn’t recommended during an acute gout attack, making time for movement in your average weekly routine is definitely still important.
Gout is a type of arthritis that causes inflammation in the joints, with acute attacks of sharp paining and swelling. Like other types of arthritis (osteo- or rheumatoid), gout contributes to the deterioration of joint tissue that can disrupt your life.
But, letting your joint pain prevent you from exercising can actually be counterproductive overtime. Your joints need strong muscles to help support them. Making time to move your body also increases the flexibility of your joints, and reduces the stiffness.
Exercise can also improve your quality of sleep, energy levels and support bone health. It even helps with weight management, which can help to reduce the risk of gout flare-ups.
Whether you’re a fairly active person already or more sedentary type, exercising with arthritis is all about finding the right low-impact activities at the right intensities for your body.
There are different types of exercise that provide different benefits to your health. The perfect balance is including a bit of each type in your routine.
Range of motion exercises include stretching and flexibility movements that help to maintain your joints full range of function. They’re simple exercises that can safely be done on a daily basis. They help to prevent stiffness and improve flexibility and strength within the joint.
Simple movements include rolling your shoulders back or moving your head from front to back to side to side.
You might first and foremost think running when you think about cardio, but there are many other activities that count as aerobic exercise as well. Running can actually be quite high-impact on knee joints, so if you deal with arthritic pain in your knees try opting for something more low impact. Walking, biking and swimming are all examples of low-impact ways to get your aerobic exercise in.
Strength training is a form of exercise that uses resistance to improve strength and muscle. Muscular strength can help to support the integrity of the joint. The stronger the muscles surrounding the joints are, the less shock the cartilage of the joint is exposed to.
Strength training exercises can be done using the machines at a gym, or performed simply in the comfort of your home by purchasing a couple of weights or resistance bands. Strength training can also include body weight exercises such as push-ups or planks, that use the weight of your own body as the resistance factor.
Having proper form when strength training is key in order to get the most from your exercise, while also preventing injury. If you’ve never done any weight baring exercise before, taking a couple of personal training sessions can help you to learn proper form and exercises suitable for your condition.
Once you start exercising, make sure you leave time for your body to recover between workouts. Avoid exercising the same muscle groups day after day in a row, and start slow. If you’re feeling a lot of pain during or after exercising, you’re likely overdoing it.
Staying active is an important part of managing the pain that comes with gout and other types of arthritis. One of the best things you can do when it comes to incorporating exercise into your weekly routine is finding something that you truly love to do. Go for walks with a friend, try a yoga class or head out on a hike. Remember, exercise doesn’t need to be intense. Even day to day activities like mowing the lawn or taking the stairs count towards keeping your joints active.
Remember to talk to your healthcare practitioner before starting a exercise routine. Your doctor can help suggest exercises for your condition, plus tell you how much intensity is safe for your current state of fitness!