Social Distancing and joint health-tips

Dr Manuj Wadhwa
If you struggle from Joint pains, being in lockdown or self Quarantine with Covid 19 virus could leave you frustrated as you don’t have many options to keep you moving. Here are few important things to keep in mind to win this situation.
Chronic pain affects crores of Indians, many of whom struggle with joint pains caused by conditions like Osteoarthritis (arthritis with age) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (called as Gathia). If you are one of those, then the idea of staying at home for “Social distancing” might seem very frustrating and troublesome.
After all if you can’t go for walk in the garden, go to gym, play golf or meet your physical therapist or even go around your neighbourhood, then how are you going to remain active on top of your chronic health condition? Fortunately, there are a couple of tips that you can consider to manage your arthritic condition and stay active at home….plus a couple of reasons why it’s important that you do so. Always take opinion from your doctor or therapist before engaging in an activity, to make sure it is suitable for your particular condition.
Why Physical activity matters for people with Joint Pain (especially during social distancing)?
As health experts, we encourage adults to move every day- whether doing an actual workout or just adding cycling, walking, yoga, stretching or even household chores. Advice like this is especially important for people with chronic arthritis. Here’s why: Research tells us that regular exercise, including low impact aerobic activities and stretching, can improve pain and function in people with arthritis and other joint conditions. Exercise is also an important stress buster and helps improve your sleep pattern, which is important for better mood and immune health. Since we all know Fibromyalgia and chronic pain conditions always aggravate under times of stress, regular activity is a good way to manage your chronic pain condition as well as your mental health and mood.
So, how much should you be moving, even when you are sheltering at home or in Lockdown or Quarantined?
A general goal as per Medical Research suggests to get a total of 30 minutes of moderately intense activity on all, or at least 5 days a week. You can even do static cycling at home at slow speed, low resistance for 10- 15 min once or twice daily. At this intensity, your heart rate is up and you may get a little sweaty, but you should still be able to hold your stamina.
Seems pretty reasonable, right? The good news is that some activity is better than no activity. So, even if you are unable to do a half hour exercise, you can still benefit from doing less- even just 10 to 15 min can be beneficial.
Ask your doctor for a home exercise program which can include general activities, or specific exercises to manage pain in specific joints like knee, back, neck or hips. A lot of these workouts require no added equipment. So, stay Healthy, Fit and Active in Corona Times!
(The author is Chairman & Executive Director Elite Institutes of Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement IVY Hopital Mohali / PARAS Hospitals Panchkula)