Integrating exercise into an arthritis treatment program involves several key components including:
Arthritis is a serious medical problem because it is the leading cause of disability in the United States.
The increase in the number of individuals, especially older adults, with a variety of disease-related symptoms affecting their exercise regimen, provides fitness professionals with opportunities to expand their scope of services. As Healthy People 2020 indicates, exercise remains an underused intervention in the treatment of arthritis. Extend your knowledge base to position yourself to work with these individuals. You should be well versed in pain relief methods, proper body mechanics, and exercises to protect the joints. There are a number of organizations offering continuing education credits, certifications, programs, and courses focused on training individuals with arthritis (2,4,12). With the appropriate background and education, you, the fitness professional, can provide a referral pathway to achieve the goal of Healthy People 2020.
Individuals with arthritis should exercise. This article reviews the epidemiology, the physical symptoms associated with arthritis, and current exercise guidelines. Fitness professionals can have a positive impact on clients with arthritis by developing a safe, effective, and relevant exercise regimen.
The authors thank the Aquatics Department at HealthPlus Fitness Center, AL, for providing the pictures of its arthritis program.
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