Arthritis symptoms include joint pain, inflammation, muscle wasting, and – crucially for exercising – restricted movement of joints, according to the NHS.
If you don’t exercise correctly, you could do your body more harm than good, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
“There are some top fitness mistakes that people – regardless of age or physical ability – tend to make repeatedly,” said the charity.
“Each one can cause stress and injury to the body. To get the most from your fitness program and keep your joints strong and injury-free, be sure to avoid these exercise mistakes.”
Stretching helps to give muscles a full range of motion.
Flexibility is key in preparing for exercise, especially when you have joint stiffness, the charity said.
Hamstring stretches are the most important to remember. A tight hamstring can cause misalignment in the pelvis and knees, it said.
Drink plenty of fluids
When exercising, the body needs extra water to cool down, and to keep blood circulating throughout the body.
“Drink plenty of water prior to exercise, get another 6 to 8 ounces for every 15 minutes of exercise and then follow the workout with more water to replenish what was lost.”
Don’t head straight for the heaviest weights
Be careful not to overdo it on weight training, the Arthritis Foundation said.
While it can help top boost stamina and energy, lifting too much too soon can damage tissue.
“When weight training, you should feel fatigue by the 12th or 15th repetition, be it a 1-pound or 100-pound weight. Once that becomes easy, add more weight.”
Working too hard can reduce the amount of oxygen that gets into your body, which leads to joint and tissue pain.
You can work out the perfect balance between oxygen intake and exercise by finding your target heart rate. That’s your age, subtracted from 220, then aim for 40 to 70 per cent of that.
Eating less than two hours before a workout means your blood flow is concentrating on digesting food, and not keeping muscles warm, and circulating oxygen.
You only need extra calories before a workout if you’re training for a marathon.
Pushing through the pain barrier
If your joints are already hot and swollen, continuing to exercise can cause more damage than good.
While it’s okay to have achy muscles for the first day or two after a workout, anything longer could be arthritis-related.
Improve your flexibility by having a proper cool down after a workout.
Cooling down with long stretches and deep breathing will help to return your heart rate back to normal.