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Exercise Doesn't Have To Be A Pain

It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon, maybe with your friends, and want to try the latest fad exercise class. But for women with arthritis, you need to think twice before jumping on board. When your joints are stiff and you hurt all over, exercise may in fact be at the bottom of your to-do list.
Exercise however is crucial for people with arthritis. It increases strength and flexibility, helps combat fatigue, gives you stronger bones, and reduces joint pain for a host of conditions – including osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia. It also keeps pain from starting, helps you shed pounds and reduces stress. But before you jump in with both feet, you will want to find an exercise that is suited just for you.

For example, the new trendy hot yoga studio by work may seem like a good low-impact exercise option, but if you have hypertension along with RA, the intense heat and exertion might make blood pressure worse. Circuit training seems to be picking up speed as another top contender for exercise trends, but high-intensity circuit training or heavy weight lifting can cause a burden on your joints, including increased inflammation, as well as put you at much higher risk for injury and pain. Focusing on a low-impact toning routine that helps to develop long, lean muscles is key. If you suffer from arthritis, chronic pain, or joint pain, we can help – here’s how:

  • Reduce Risk Of Injury and Prevent Pain: Neighborhood Barre classes help women improve mobility, become better at actually activating your muscles, and it helps to boost the mind-body connection. All these elemental things are key for healing a current injury and injury prevention. Since most people with RA have alignment issues, using the mirror and the ballet barre can help you keep to good form.  Barre is a great option for women dealing with a new or chronic injury, or those who have joint issues like RA or OA. The smaller, controlled and repeated movements, known as isometric contractions, put little to no impact on the joints or ligaments. Our instructors are also proactive about suggesting modifications for wrist, knee, shoulder, hip, and lower back pain.
  • You’re In Control During Class: Body weight bearing exercise has the benefit of allowing your body to be the so-called machine you use to perform each exercise in class. This means you have complete control over the pace of your class; the range of motion in which you perform each exercise; the equipment you may or may not choose to incorporate; and the ability to stop, adjust or modify at any time. Barre exercises have the benefit of being performed slowly, so you don’t have to worry about sudden stress on your joints. Neighborhood Barre classes are taught at a baseline or foundational tempo and range of motion. Your instructor will provide options to progress the exercise or modify throughout class. Keep in mind to always move within a pain-free range and work at your own pace. Really tune into what your instructor has to say for the greatest benefit in class.
  • Your Teacher Is An Expert At Personal Instruction: It’s really important to take a class with an instructor who can teach you proper form. Neighborhood Barre instructors undergo a minimum of 100 hours of training before becoming certified. Our local studio teams also attend additional training semi-annually and learn new content for releases monthly to stay on-top of exercise modifications, progressions, and how to teach class at an all-levels approach. Most importantly, use your instructor to your full benefit. Watch the instructor, let her adjust and correct your form, and always ask her questions about what you can do to improve or adjust to feel safe or more comfortable. PRO TIP: Although there are many options given in every class to provide an all-levels approach for everyone in the room, it’s best to come a 10 minutes early to class to discuss that day’s set of exercises with your instructor so we can customize options for your pre-existing injuries.

Hear first-hand how client and now NB instructor, Rebecca, has improved the management of her arthritis, decreased joint pain, and even carried her through two successful pregnancies at Neighborhood Barre!

“I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at age 3, and have been dealing with the condition ever since. I came to Neighborhood Barre at a time when I was struggling to find a workout routine that fit my needs and was challenging. After my first few classes, I realized that the highly modifiable, low-impact nature of barre makes it accessible for someone like me. No matter how my joints feel on any given day, I know I can get an incredible full-body workout in a barre class. The muscle strengthening, core work, and stretching I get at barre have helped me manage my arthritis and decreased my joint pain. Neighborhood Barre has supported me through arthritis and two pregnancies, so I know this is a workout I can continue for the rest of my life. With all of these benefits, having a toned tooshie is just a bonus!” – Rebecca Nutter, NB Knoxville Instructor and former client.