Listening to your body is essential in staying healthy and normal. Sometimes pain is your body’s way of saying “take it easy!” But if you’re dealing with chronic joint pain because of arthritis, there are times when it is better to exercise through the pain.

So here is the question: How do you know when to take a break and when to keep moving?

Keep Moving

As a rule of thumb, the answer is “keep moving.” Your joints were made to move. They need movement to feed the joints and keep the muscles around the joints strong and limber. Health professionals encourage their patients with arthritis to be as active as they can—as long as it isn’t aggravating joint pain.

Staying active can:

  • Limit joint pain and swelling
  • Slow the weakening of arthritic joints
  • Improve mood and sleep
  • Reduce anxiety and counter depression

People with arthritis should aim for around 30 minutes of low-impact aerobic activity on most days, incorporate strength training twice a week, and balance these exercises 3 times a week.

Learn When to Rest

Even though staying active is important, there are times when it’s best to rest. This is the case if the activity you’re doing is causing pain—not the “good” pain of muscles that have had a healthy workout, but “bad” pain that is specifically hurting your joints.

If you are feeling an arthritis flare-up, it can be beneficial to take a break for a day or two and focus on reducing the inflammation. In the meantime, focus on rest, ice or heat therapy, and anti-inflammatory pain medications. Then, after you’re feeling better, you should get up and get moving again.

Also don’t forget that you can modify your activities to adjust during a joint flair-up. For example, if your lower back is hurting, take a break from walking and try water aerobics or low intensity yoga instead.

Let us help you in striking a balance between rest and exercise. For expert advice on rest, exercise and physical therapy options, call us today at (909) 887-2991.

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