Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints which causes stiff and painful joints. The best way to reduce the symptoms, and in some cases eradicate them completely, is customized training. Movement may cause pain, but this is not dangerous. It is important that the exercises are not too difficult and you perform them correctly. A physiotherapist or personal trainer can help you do this. In terms of osteoarthritis, it is also important to understand that training does not need to mean long, sweaty workouts at the gym. A few minutes of training at home every day will be plenty.
Read more about osteoarthritis.
Stronger knees from training at home
The more we understand from research on osteoarthritis, the clearer it becomes that training is the best method of treatment. For osteoarthritis in the knee, the priority is to strengthen the leg muscles to relieve the strain on the knee joint. At the same time, using the joint stimulates the process of reconstructing your cartilage.
If you want to start training at home without going to a physiotherapist, step exercises can be a good start. Using a small stool or low steps, you can train both your balance and strength. The higher the step, the more difficult the exercise, while the lower the height, the easier it gets. Start by simply stepping onto the step with one foot and then bringing the other foot up onto it. Then step off in the same way (backwards). You should repeat this 10-15 times for each leg, depending on your ability.
When doing this exercise, you should think about your technique.
● Try to maintain a good posture throughout the exercise.
● Make sure that your knees are pointing straight forward over the toes.
Training hips at home
Training at home is a great way to reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis in the hip joint. There are several simple exercises you can do. A physiotherapist can help to design a program for you to do at home. The Joint Academy app can offer several exercises for people who want to work out at home without using equipment. All the exercises are designed to alleviate osteoarthritis in the knee and hip.
An example of a standard exercise that is used to reduce osteoarthritis is getting up out of a chair. The start position is to sit on a chair with both feet on the floor. From this position, you can lift yourself up (without using your arms too much) and sit down. You should repeat this 10-15 times depending on your ability. If you can manage it, you will benefit from doing the same number of repetitions again after a short rest.
You should think about the following when performing the exercise to avoid injuries:
● Make sure that your knees are pointing forward and not bending inward or outward.
● Try and keep your back upright.
● Distribute your weight evenly over your feet.
● Keep your muscles tense throughout the entire movement (avoid “falling” down into the chair).
Back exercises to do at home
Back pain is very common, but it is not always the due to osteoarthritis. However, training at home can be effective even if your problem is not related to osteoarthritis. A lot of back problems are caused by stiff or weak back muscles.
One back exercise you can do at home is known in Sweden as the “hunting dog”. Start on the floor on all fours, ideally on a soft base such as a mat. Then, slowly lift one arm and the opposite leg upwards and outwards before lowering them back down onto the floor. You should keep the movement controlled at all times. Aim for 10-15 repetitions on each side, but you can adapt the exercise to your own level.
To ensure that your technique is as good as possible, you should try to ensure the following:
● Your hands should be positioned under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
● Tense your stomach throughout the movement.
● The lifted arm and leg should be straight.
● Avoid swaying too much – your back should not follow the movement.