When you have osteoarthritis, the biggest risk is exercise, more specifically getting too much exercise. You shouldn’t start out with an exhausting workout program in an attempt to build muscle and protect your joints. You will actually cause more damage. Start at a low level and work your way up. This is even more essential when you have osteoarthritis or arthritis in general. This will keep you from overexerting yourself, and you should be able to breathe and speak normally as you exercise when you are starting out. If you need a break, slow down, but don’t stop suddenly.
If you feel joint pain as you exercise, don’t be afraid to stop. If it lasts for 2 hours or more after exercise, take a rest and an over the counter pain medication as needed. If it lasts more than a day or so, go to your doctor. If you experience the following symptoms, don’t wait, go see your doctor immediately:
- Chest pain or shortness of breath
- Unusual or chronic fatigue
- Increased weakness
- Decreased range of motion in a joint
- Increased swelling of a joint
- Pain that lasts more than about a day
If you have arthritis, it doesn’t hurt to check with your doctor on different exercise program. Low impact exercise is ideal, but your doctor can assess your situation and help you to pick the exercise routine that is right for you.