For most people suffering from arthritis, hiring a personal trainer is typically done as a last ditch effort. I have had many clients with arthritis come to work with me, however they usually first go through the standard route of visiting doctors, taking prescription medication, getting injections and trying physical therapy. By the time they get to me they are feeling very frustrated because they are still continuing to have aches and pains, limited range of motion in their limbs and joints and chronic inflammation throughout their body.
Most arthritis patients do try prescription medication first, thinking it’ll be a quick fix. However, many are greeted with the harmful side effects that these arthritis medications have on their bodies. But, what most do not realize is that arthritis can be greatly managed and minimized through proper diet and exercise.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is an inflammation disease. Simply put, arthritis is inflammation of a joint(s), and is one of the most common human ailments, often being categorized as a chronic disease due to the fact that their is not established, prescribed cure and it can last for years and years. Though it is mostly thought of as an ailment of the hands, arthritis can actually occur in any joint in the body, with the most common being: neck, lower back, hips and shoulders.
Managing Arthritis & Inflammation with Diet
Inflammation, even inflammation associated with arthritis, is something that can be managed very well with a proper diet. And, Googling around, you’ll find a lot of information pertaining to an anti-inflammatory diet. Below are the nutrition guidelines I give my clients with arthritis.
Avoid These Foods That Increase Inflammation
- Fried foods
- Highly processed foods (chips, crackers, most packaged prepared meals & snacks)
- Vegetable and Canola oils
- Sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup – ie. soda, cookies
- Refined white carbohydrates – ie. white flour baked goods, pastas
- Dairy products – mainly excessive/daily milk consumption
Due to their components being either high in sugar and/or high in fat content, foods that contain or are prepared in this manner should be avoided, as they actively promote inflammation in the body.
Eat These Foods That Can Help Relieve Inflammation
Anti-inflammatory promoting foods are typically those with a high antioxidant count, such as
- Omega fatty acids – Salmon, tuna, cod, halibut, and bass, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds
- Good oils – extra virgin olive oil, grape seed and avocado oils
- Herbs and spices – garlic, ginger, basil, chili peppers, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, and ginger. Of these, turmeric, garlic and ginger have been shown to have amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
- Foods high in beta carotene – cantaloupe, yams, carrots, sweet potato, spinach, sweet red peppers
- Foods high in vitamin C – oranges, grapefruit, kale, broccoli, berries, tomatoes, peas, yellow bell peppers. Vitamin C is one of the most common and powerful antioxidants.
- Green tea – rich in polyphenols, a type of healing and cleansing antioxidant
- Water – water cushions your joints and your spine, and it provides shock absorption for your joints to protect you from arthritis and back pain
- Get good amounts of vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D plays a huge role in our overall bone and joint health
- Exercise smart. You might want to avoid running long distances (2+ miles) everyday until arthritis is under control, but you definitely need to be doing full range of motion exercises to strength muscles in surrounding affected areas. A great therapy is warm pool exercise!
- Stretch everyday. Stretching looses tight muscles and joints, as well as lubricates joints. Stretching is becoming more and more crucial as our sedentary lifestyles wreck havoc on our bodies.
Your Body Can Easily Bounce Back From Arthritis
Consistent healthy habits are crucial for reversing the pain symptoms associated with arthritis. Daily routines including full range of motion exercises and stretches, plus nutrition choices to calm internal inflammation are the three areas that need focus. All of the clients have seen have had great success with this routine and regime. With me, a typical session would include 30 min of specific, low intensity body weight training, followed by 30 minutes of active stretching. This strengthens muscles throughout the body, while improving muscle, tendon and joint flexibility.
Don’t let age be a factor. Your body is an incredibly resilient, self-repairing machine at every stage of life. Your bones, tendons and ligaments were built to last for a long time, even through constant strain and wear and tear…they just need proper fuel and daily maintenance routine (exercise & stretching) to continually repair and strength themselves.
Exercise for Arthritis
Follow along with me as I show you a great exercise for those suffering from arthritis.