Where Better Care is a Family Matter

Exercising with Arthritis

An object in motion stays in motion. – Newton’s first law.

Most arthritis sufferers believe that exercising will only exacerbate their painful and stiff joints. However, the reality is quite the opposite. In fact, by not exercising, you’re allowing your muscles and surrounding tissues to become weak, thus creating more stress on your joints.

While it may seem cumbersome at first, exercise can actually help ease the pain and stiffness that comes with arthritis. And you don’t have to run a marathon to feel the relief. Moderate exercise can keep you mobile and ease the pain you’re experiencing in your joints.

We’ve compiled a list of exercises that are perfect for individuals with arthritis, and you can do them from the comfort of your own home.

Exercises to Increase Your Range of Motion

Relieve stiff joints and bring about more flexibility and use with these daily exercises:

For shoulders: Roll your shoulders backward and forward together and in rotation.

For arms: Practice slowly raising your arms over your head and lowering them.

For hips: While standing, bend your knee back while trying to touch your bottom with your heel – you can use a counter or desk for support.

Exercises to Strengthen Your Muscles for Joint Support

Strong muscles are critical in supporting and protecting your joints. You build strong muscles with regular exercise, even if just for a few minutes a day. Try practicing these workouts every other day:

For upper strength: While sitting in a chair or at the table, hold a weight in one hand. With your elbow bent at a 45° angle, slowly lower the weight down, then lift it back up towards your arm.

If you’re just beginning, grab a can from your pantry to use as a weight. It may not seem like much, but regular use will build up your muscle strength.

For lower strength: Lie on your side on the floor or bed, keeping the leg against the floor straight. Prop your upper body up by your forearm. With your other leg, bend at the knee and cross it over the leg against the floor, placing your foot firmly on the floor. Slowly lift your straight leg up and down about 6-8” off the ground.

Exercises to Improve Your Overall Fitness

Aerobic exercises will provide you with more stamina and energy, and they can improve your overall cardiovascular health as well. Aerobic exercises that are low-impact are much easier on your joints, and you only need about 10 minutes a day to feel the positive effects. Here are some low-impact aerobic exercises you can try:

  • Go for a walk
  • Take a bike ride or ride a stationary bike
  • Exercise on an elliptical machine

If you have a pool or have access to one, water aerobics is a wonderful way to keep low-impact while getting in the exercise your body needs to help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. It’s a great alternative for those with Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as it cushions the joints!

Whatever you do, don’t push yourself too hard too soon. Listen to your body. But don’t let that joint pain keep you from doing the things that could actually make it better!

If you’d like more advice or tips on how to exercise with arthritis, give us a call at Elmhurst Extended Care Center. Our dedicated and knowledgeable team is more than happy to answer your questions and advise you on ways you can improve your current condition.

Occupational Therapy – Getting You Back Better Than Ever

Many older adults may hear the term occupational therapy and say, “What do I need that for? I don’t have a job.”

Not so fast — Occupational Therapy has become increasingly important to a senior’s vitality and well-being. It’s a complete game changer when it comes to enhancing their well-being and getting them back to feeling better than ever.

Live Strong Again With Occupational Therapy

As you age, you want to be able to maintain both an adequate level of autonomy and the ability to perform activities of daily living on your own.

Occupational therapy exercises for seniors focus on activities that allow you to maintain independence and help you overcome physical, mental or social problems as a result of a disability or aging.

Physical Therapy vs. Occupational Therapy? What’s the difference?

Within your plan of care, your doctor may recommend both physical and occupational therapy. An easy way to remember the difference is that occupational therapy (OT) is about the technical execution of daily activities. It tends to be more focused on improving life skills and involves adaptive tools that lead to a better quality of life.

Physical therapy (PT) typically helps to improve mobility and is more likely to only treat the physical source of the injury: damaged tissues, muscle, and structure.

When a physical therapist treats an older adult with a broken arm, their main goal will be to restore full mobility to the hands and elbow.

But, an occupational therapist will help that person relearn how to eat using utensils and comb their hair.

There’s an obvious synergy between the two therapies, and it’s no wonder they are often presented hand-in-hand.

Overcoming Daily Challenges

Let’s face it … everyday tasks that were once easy and completed with little or no thought, have now become quite challenging. And what’s worse, you feel the need to constantly depend on others for help.

Occupational therapy can help compensate for the hurdles you face each day. From dressing and feeding yourself, to home management or participating in social activities, OT can bring back your sense of confidence and independence.

Preventing Falls

Did you know that one in four older Americans fall every year?

Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65 and over. As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance — primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.

When you or a loved one have experienced a fall, you’ll find just why occupational therapy is so essential. Our OT specialists help seniors with problem-solving strategies so they can stay active.

Modifying Your Home For Better Care

Occupational therapists make your life a lot simpler with convenient devices like built-up eating utensils, semi-automatic cutting boards, and more. Plus, OTs can help you acquire devices like a bathtub bench to make things easier.

The occupational therapists at Elmhurst Extended Care Center truly care about your longevity – even after you’ve left our facility. We’ll help you learn how to optimize your home to promote full participation in all activities of daily life so you can thrive.

Let EECC’s Occupational Therapy Specialists Lead You To A Healthier Life

Our OT specialists are on-staff to assist you or your loved one to gaining more independence, a new lease on life and a healthier outlook.

Even simple occupational therapy exercises done daily can improve function and help you get back to feeling better than ever.

Some of these include:

  • Relaxation Exercises
  • Range-of-Motion Exercises
  • Memory Exercises
  • Fine Motor Activities
  • Functional Strengthening

Wherever you are in your journey, our job is to help you feel the very best. Trust Elmhurst Extended Care Center to provide you with the care you deserve.

Hear how our short term rehabilitation program helped Anne after a fall that broke her hip.