Some people seek to avoid exercise when they have arthritis, reasoning that exercise will only make the situation worse. Resistance exercise tends to be especially ignored since it places pressure on the joints.
However, strength training is hugely important because it strengthens the muscles that surround your joints, lessening pressure on them and helping keep you mobile. It also improves bone strength and helps control your weight.
That said, not all resistance training is created equal. If you have arthritis, you should consider opting for resistance band training instead of using weightlifting machines or lifting free weights, and here are just a few important reasons why.
Mimic Natural Movements
If you have arthritis, you'll want to strengthen your muscles to cope better with everyday movements, and resistance bands work excellently in this regard. They are simple lengths of elastic material that can be help in the hand or attached to another body part, anchored, and then used to add resistance to natural movements. Instead of moving weights up and down, the bands move with your body.
Vary Intensity Easily
You'll see resistance bands used frequently in rehabilitation programs. This is because it's very easy to vary the intensity. Bands are usually colour-coded, and you can adjust the resistance further by choosing how tight the band is when you exert pressure on it. As such, you can build up easily.
Use of Progressive Overload
When you lift a dumbbell or use an exercise machine, the load on your muscles is the same whether you're at the top of the movement or at the bottom. With resistance bands, the pressure is more gradual, becoming more intense as you pull the resistance band upwards or outwards. That's beneficial for people with arthritis because it is easier on the joints. Also, you can simply stop and drop the bands when the resistance becomes too much, which isn't an option with traditional weights.
Whole Body Results
Dumbbells and weight machine exercises tend to be designed around improving the size and strength of a certain muscle. When someone does a bicep curl with a dumbbell, for example, they are trying to increase the size and strength of their biceps. For someone with arthritis, it's more important to work all the joints, muscles, and tendons equally to promote whole-body strength – after all, you're working to reduce discomfort and improve mobility, not to look good in a tank top. Resistance bands are better because they work more stabilizer muscles and can be used for whole body exercises.