4 Lifestyle Habits to Adopt to Ease Arthritis Symptoms

4 Lifestyle Habits to Adopt to Ease Arthritis Symptoms

Living with arthritis can be challenging — from waking up with stiff achy joints to having to give up activities you enjoy, like golfing. The chronic joint inflammation can even make small day-to-day things like reaching into the cupboard for your favorite coffee mug painful. 

Fortunately, there are things you can do to ease arthritis symptoms, and Samuel I. Fink, MD, is here to support you every step of the way. Dr. Fink is devoted to providing the best internal medicine in Tarzana, California, and that includes helping patients with arthritis live well. 

Adopting these four lifestyle habits right now to help reduce the severity of your arthritis symptoms. 

1. Adopt anti-inflammatory eating habits

When it comes to arthritis, more inflammation means more severe symptoms, and the foods you eat can have a powerful impact on driving inflammation, or quelling it. Eating a nutritious diet is part of living well in general, and it’s even more vital if you’re living with arthritis. 

Research has shown that eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and cutting back on inflammatory foods such as gluten, processed sugar, casein (a protein found in dairy), and saturated fats improves arthritis symptoms.

While an extensive list of which foods to eat and which to limit is beyond the scope of this post, we encourage you to discuss following an anti-inflammatory diet with Dr. Fink. 

2. Get and stay active

Many patients report reducing their activity level as a result of arthritis pain and stiffness. This is unfortunate because being active is essential to joint health. It may seem counterintuitive to exercise when you have arthritis pain, but physical activity can improve symptoms. 

Focus on strengthening the muscles around joints and maintaining flexibility. Swimming, water aerobics, yoga, and walking are joint-friendly activities.

Before beginning a new fitness program, consult with Dr. Fink about which exercises are best for you. Begin carefully, and gradually increase your tolerance for exercise.

3. Make it a priority to slim down

Carrying excess weight is much more than an aesthetic concern, the extra pounds put a strain on your joints and increase wear-and-tear. If improving arthritis symptoms is your goal and you’re overweight, make losing weight your top priority. 

Excess body fat also promotes inflammation. Fat tissue isn’t just an inactive container for extra energy. It acts more like an organ, secreting substances and communicating with other parts of the body. Fat tissue secretes pro-inflammatory proteins, including interleukin-6, a protein that also plays a key role in arthritis and other chronic inflammatory conditions. 

That’s why getting your weight down and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to help ease your arthritis symptoms. 

4. Put stress in check

As with excess weight and a poor diet, stress can cause inflammation. In fact, chronic stress is linked to chronic low-grade inflammation. 

The stress hormone epinephrine increases interleukin-6, the same protein that drives inflammation in arthritis and other chronic inflammatory conditions. This makes stress just as harmful for people with arthritis as other lifestyle factors, such as obesity and poor diet. 

Incorporate stress-relieving activities into your lifestyle to help tame inflammation. Mindfulness meditation, yoga, and tai chi not only boost mood and ease stress, but these activities are also known to reduce inflammation and improve arthritis pain

Our goal is to help you achieve optimal wellness and lead the best quality of life possible, and Dr. Fink is in your corner in the battle against arthritis. If you’re living with arthritis, let us help you manage your symptoms and live well. Call our office or request an appointment online today.

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