Stand Up to Arthritis

Arthritis loves when you sit around. The less you move, the more it uses your body as its own easy chair. One member shares how she overcame an arthritis-triggered injury. (Hint: She didn’t take it lying down) …

A “Detoured” Bike Ride

Member Chris Delaney believes in fitness. She even worked at a gym. However, we all understand life sometimes gets in the way of our healthiest intentions. A 10-year stint without exercise caused weight gain and its associated health issues for Chris. One fateful day of biking around her neighborhood changed that.

Chris’ bike ride that day took a wrong turn when she injured her knee. Diagnosed with a torn meniscus, she underwent three months of physical therapy. It helped, but her knee was still stiff. She joined the Center’s MoveWell Wellness Program, specifically created for individuals with knee and hip replacements, arthritis, or joint pain. In participating, she truly learned the joy of moving well.

Overcoming an Injury

Consistently exercising with professional supervision for two months eased Chris’ knee stiffness and pain. Three times a week, she worked hard at improving. The Program includes a combination of water and land workouts. She became more proficient on the Fitness Floor as she increased her strength.

“The variety of the MoveWell Program helped me overall. The progress was no longer only about my knee,” says Chris. Although, her knee grew strong enough to allow ankle weights to advance her workouts.

Today, Chris claims her knee is 95 percent better. Still, if she is not consistently active, she gets stiff. This explains her daily visits to the Center, often alternating between two of her favorite Center locations.

Her physician attributes the stiffness, and knee injury, to osteoarthritis, the basic wear-and-tear that occurs over time. Many successfully combat this with an active lifestyle. Chris is proof. Arthritis is not inevitable as we age. Plus, as Chris has demonstrated, surgery-free treatments can be successful.

The Upside of a Setback

Upon completion of MoveWell, Chris became a Center member. She still incorporates the MoveWell approach into her fitness routine. She regularly takes classes like Gentle Yoga, which focuses on balance, and enjoys the pool’s buoyancy for water workouts. Frequently, Chris checks in with Personal Trainer Toni who oversaw her time in MoveWell.

Exercise Tips for Arthritis

The right approach to exercise can prevent arthritic flare-ups and soothe them upon occurrence. A personal trainer can teach you how to accommodate any restrictions you may be experiencing. Consider joining the MoveWell Program for chronic issues and post-rehabilitation situations.

Modify your activities. Do not eliminate them. If one area is in pain, exercise another body part. Also, learn gentle stretches to help loosen and improve range-of-motion, especially in problem areas.

Other Suggestions:

  • Choose low-impact exercises, including cycling, walking, swimming, modified Pilates, gentle yoga, and T’ai Chi.
  • Learn to appreciate the ease of water workouts with their simultaneous ability to break a sweat.
  • Alternate strength training workouts with rest days in between (for example, focus on upper body one day, lower the next).
  • Take frequent breaks to avoid stressing joints.
  • Apply 20 minutes of heat to affected areas prior to your workout. Try to relieve any nagging pains before you begin.
  • Apply 20 minutes of ice to affected areas after exercise, especially if swelling occurs.
  • To reduce stiffness, warm up before stretching for fluid movements and injury prevention.

Update on Chris

Trainer Toni summarizes her experience best: “Chris was diligent about meeting her goals while in MoveWell.  By the time she graduated from the Program, she was stronger– and confident enough to proceed with exercising on her own.”