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Is Arthritis Slowing You Down?

St. Luke's Hospital recommends that you 'PACE' yourself

Is arthritic pain limiting your daily physical activities? Do you often avoid exercising for fear of damaging your already aching joints? If you are one of the millions of Americans diagnosed with arthritis, you should consider incorporating aerobic exercise into your daily routine.

Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that regular exercise is essential in managing arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, exercising is beneficial in a number of ways. It reduces joint pain and stiffness, while increasing muscle flexibility, strength and endurance. Exercising also helps to build stronger muscles around the affected joints.

Fortunately, people with arthritis are not limited to only a few exercises. There are many exercises that will even help reduce pain, including: walking, swimming, bicycling, golfing, weight training and yoga. Regardless of what exercise you choose, it is important to begin slowly with some basic stretching exercises, increasing blood flow and improving your range of motion.

St. Luke's Hospital realizes that it may be difficult to select and subsequently begin an exercise program. St. Luke's Sports Medicine Center is sponsoring an exercise program, called PACE (People with Arthritis Can Exercise), for those with arthritis. The program teaches arthritic individuals how to exercise effectively. It focuses on gentle exercises to increase flexibility, range of motion and strength. All of PACE's instructors are certified by the Arthritis Foundation.

"Gentle exercise can help keep arthritis under control," said Trisha Thaller of St. Luke's Hospital's Sports Medicine Center. "Our PACE program emphasizes the importance of minimizing the stress placed on the joints, while maximizing joint flexibility."

You should consult your physician before starting any exercise program. If you are in need of a physician, please call St. Luke's Physician Referral Service at 314-205-6060.