Are you looking for the best mattress for arthritis? As they say, Behind every good night’s sleep is a great mattress. However, that can prove to be a challenge when you are suffering from arthritis. We have spent countless number of hours researching and consulting with experts on specific mattress for arthritis, and we are glad we have come up with some highly recommended ones. Hopefully, you find the right one from our handpicked selection.
What makes the best mattress for arthritis? Arthritis is a condition that causes the inflammation of one or multiple body joints and is characterized by pains, stiffness, swelling and limited range of motion in the affected joints. Although it does not discriminate, the risk factors include previous joint injury, obesity, age and family history. Severe arthritis particularly affects the harms, back and spine making it difficult for people to bend, walk, stand, sit and even sleep comfortably. Getting a good rest is very important in order to rejuvenate the body and this is something that can best be done through sleeping. Since arthritis brings about sleepless nights due to the associated pains, it is very hard to get the much needed rest. This is why there are mattresses that have been specifically designed to relax your muscles as well as reduce pressure and pain on joints for a good nights sleep. So, which is the best mattress for arthritis?
- 1 The Best Mattresses For Arthritis And Fibromyalgia
- 2 What Makes the Best Mattress For Arthritis Sufferers?
- 3 1. Zinus Green Tea Mattress
- 4 2. Leesa Mattress
- 5 3. Purple Mattress
- 6 4. Amerisleep Revere Mattress
- 7 5. Sleep Innovations Shiloh 12 inch Mattress
- 8 6. Signature Sleep Memoir 12 Inch Memory Foam Mattress
- 9 7. Tuft & Needle Mattress
- 10 What Makes a Good Mattress For Arthritis?
- 11 General Arthritis Home Remedy
- 12 Further Reading On Osteoarthritis and Management
- 12.1 Check
- 12.2 Every week:
- 12.3 Aerobic activity: It’s essential
- 12.4 Aerobic activity: what is “intensity”?
- 12.5 Examples of moderate- and high-intensity activities:
- 12.6 What types of aerobic activities are best?
- 12.7 Muscle strengthening—just as important!
- 12.8 Flexibility exercises
- 12.9 Success begins with a winning strategy and the right tactics
The Best Mattresses For Arthritis And Fibromyalgia
Our Expert's Best Pick
Constructed with high attention to detail and a well balanced firmness on materials that offer plush and unparalleled comfort, many arthritis sufferers have confessed their cuddly love with this mattress. It is also among the most affordable options, proving that you don't have to spend an arm and leg to enjoy a good night's sleep as an arthritis sufferer.See Latest Price
If you are looking for the best mattress for arthritis, then here is out top 7 list that we’ve compiled with the help of industry experts and also rigorous testing and research done in over 12 months. These mattresses have significantly shown dramatic relief in people suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid or osteoarthritis and in people suffering from different joint pains. First is a list, then an in=depth review to each of these mattresses and why they are good.
1 Zinus Green Tea Mattress
2 Leesa Mattress
3 Purple Mattress
4 Amerisleep Revere Mattress
5 Sleep Innovations Shiloh 12 inch Mattress
6 Signature Sleep Memoir Memory Foam Mattress
7 Tuft & Needle Mattress
What Makes the Best Mattress For Arthritis Sufferers?
- A good mattress for arthritis is one that contours and cuddles to the curves of their body. People with arthritis need special care and attention, and the pampering that the mattress offers should also be good enough.
- A mattress that offers good body alignment and keep the spinal straight. Research has it that people who enjoy proper spinal alignment sleep better and all that depends on the firmness of the mattress you get. We have handpicked those with the right firmness level which lets one sleep without any disruption, even when turning.
- A mattress that doesn’t retain a lot of heat. Everyone hates a mattress that builds up a lot of heat. To avoid the sleepless nights, tossing and turning that is brought by this, one should consider getting a mattress that has good air flow structuring. This way, you should be able to manage your arthritis better and get better sleep.
- Lastly, you don’t have to break the bank to get a good mattress – Even for people who suffer from arthritis, there are cheaper options that one can enjoy unparalleled comfort and a good night sleep.
Having gone through the things that we have factored in during selection and testing, here is an indepth review the best mattresses for arthritis sufferers.
1. Zinus Green Tea Mattress
The Zinus Green Tea is described as being incredibly comfortable and well-built mattress. It is not only our best rated mattress for arthritis relief but also the most affordable in our list. It is infused with green tea extracts which gives added health benefits as well as make the mattress fresh and have a good scent by keeping odors under control without addition of excess chemicals to your mattress. This mattress has six different sizes which are the twin, extra-long twin, double, queen, king, and California king. They are also available in four different heights of 6 inch, 8 inch, 10 inch, and 12 inch.
It is made using airflow technology that helps to circulate body heat out of the bed instead of trapping it inside and this enables you to sleep comfortably whether it is hot or cold. It contains multiple types of fused memory foam layers that help it to conform to the natural shape of the body and maintain its shape easily for you to stay comfortable throughout the entire night. This unique design helps to relief pressure on your joints for a pain-free and sleepy night. The Zinus mattress has a density of 3 lbs which makes it neither plush nor firm to suit people with arthritis for back, stomach and side sleepers. This is because it is designed to keep the spine in proper alignment and offer pressure point relief such that side sleepers will feel that their weight is being better supported by this mattress rather than their bodies.
Why is Zinus Green Tea Mattress The best Mattress for arthritis?
Besides comfort, support and body alignment, here is a summary of some of the things that makes this Zinus mattress a good choice for people with arthritis.
Green Tea Extracts – Not any mattress you come by comes with natural green ta extracts infusion and this one is just exceptional. The green tea extracts that helps to rejuvenate your morning and keep off allergens that is common with some memory foam mattresses. This factor just gives it a big plus when compared with others.
Exceptional Pain Relief Experience – Its designed with people with pain in mind. Be it back pain, joint pains, arthritis and other sort of pain, the mattress does a good job in pampering the pressure points and giving a cuddly feel.
CertiPUR certificatipon – Nobody should sleep on a mattress that hasn’t been tested by a third party organization. Why? You could be sleeping on a cloud of harmful chemicals that will make your situation even worse. With Zinus being CertiPUR certified, it means that it meets the strict standards on materials, emissions and durability.
Perfect Air flow – Memory mattresses are known to get hot and if its a hot hot seasons, the experience is even worse. Zinus green tea is designed with all that in mind, and you can sleep comfortably and snooze all you want regardless of whether its the hottest summer. We can frankly say, they’ve done an amazing job in avoiding heat build-up and that is something someone with arthritis will also appreciate.
Super Bargain – With all the essential features in a healthy mattress, you’d expect a hefty price tag on this, but you’ll be very amazed with the price on this mattress. In a single line, it is a premium mattress that is well structured yet half priced. Sleeping on the mattress will make you wonder why people always pay $1000 for a mattress.
Unquestionable Durability – You will also get to enjoy the great performance, not for a few months like you’ expect with some cheap mattresses, but for many years without having to complain about your back.
These are some of the things that makes this mattress good for arthritis sufferers. It is a mattress that doesn’t disappointing in many aspects and the raving reviews it has received is proof to that.
Potential concerns with Zinus Green Tea Mattress
– The extra-long twin size only comes in the 8-inch tall option.
– Some back sleepers may find it too soft. Although we came across very few issues on this, it is always worth mentioning so as to know what to expect. You can however have the mattress returned free of charge as long as it is within the 30 day trial period.
Zinus Green Tea Mattress is the best mattress for arthritis, relieving joint pains in the back and spine among other related issues. It has the ideal firmness, stability, durability, supportive features and good scent that will provide you with an improved night’s sleep. This mattress will relax your muscles by providing proper spinal alignment and edge support when you sit on it.
2. Leesa Mattress
The Leesa mattress is a 10-inch mattress that is built with three layers. At the bottom of the mattress is a 6-inch stable base layer of high density support foam followed by a middle 2-inch layer of memory foam that accounts for the cushioning and the 2-inch top layer of Avena foam that is corrugated and with special air pockets that reduce sweating, improve breathability and promote durability. It is one of the highly adaptive all-foam mattresses that are designed to be used by people of different body-types as it easily adjusts to individual needs. People who share a bed will love this mattress because it has very little motion transfer and firm enough to support heavy weight. It is able to cushion hips and shoulders with no sinking in feeling because it is made with the right amount of memory foam that does not allow sinking but floating on it.
What makes Leesa the second best mattress for arthritis?
– It is very conforming to the body and highly supportive. Someone suffering from arthritis and other similar issues need good whole body pampering and Leesa is good at that.
– It sleeps cool and with few complaints of it sleeping hot. Also, an arthritis sufferer needs not add any other issue like sleeping hot. Leesa has a good air circulation system that ensures one sleeps cool at night and that there is no heat buildup.
– The mattress is a good mix of comfort and support within the ideal range for the average sleeper. Just what an arthritis sufferer needs.
– It has an attractive cover that can be left even without bed sheets.
– It is a strong pressure relief mattress which is good in relieving joint pain as a result of arthritis.
– It is very attractive with a beautiful design.
Potential concerns with the Leesa mattress
– This mattress model is geared towards the average sleeper and if you prefer a very soft or very firm mattress, the Leesa isn’t the best choice for you.
– It may be a bit hard for side sleepers.
The Lessa Mattress is one of the best foam mattresses that supports more weight and is comfortable even without sheets on it. If you’re a back sleeper, this should be the first bed to go for especially if you are looking for a medium level of firmness with a bit of memory foam. The Leesa Mattress could just be what you have been looking for as many users report reduced joint pain after using it.
3. Purple Mattress
The Purple Mattress is a three-layer mattress containing extra technology in its top layer of polymer grid. It is mostly famous for being cool and pressure relieving thanks to the hyper-elastic polymer top layer with squares of hollow space which promotes airflow and relieves pressure. The mattress sleeps completely natural with neutral temperature as well as being adaptive, comfortable and with minimal sinkage. The unique technology bridges the gap between the comfort and bounce of a traditional spring mattress with the support of a memory foam mattress. The middle 3.5-inch layer of polyurethane foam provides much of the stability and support to the mattress while the 4-inch base layer consisting of another layer of polyurethane foam serves as the foundation of the mattress and provides a fair amount of resistance against compression. The mattress is of medium firm feel and the walls in the grid design of the top layer either fold to cushion your back or stay rigid to support you and relieve pressure. The cover is made from viscose, polyester, and polyester-lycra material that is highly breathable and is machine wash friendly. This mattress is also recyclable as it is made up of food grade materials that are hard to come by.
What makes Purple Mattress one of the bets mattresses for arthritis?
– It is bouncier than traditional memory foam to maintain minimal motion transfer. Besides being a good mattress to pamper your back, you will enjoy a lot of bounce from the purple mattress.
– It sleeps cooler than most memory foam mattresses on the market. Purple isn’t made of memory foam, but has a unique material that has proven to offer outstanding air circulation making it cool to sleep on at night.
-The Purple’s Unique Smart Grid Design makes it beautiful and attractive which makes it a perfect addition in your bedroom.
– It is effective in relieving back pain and minimizing pressure points thanks to its hyper-elastic polymer top layer.
– Apart from the back and side sleepers, the stomach sleepers will find the Purple mattress to be supportive and comfortable too.
Potential concerns with the Purple Mattress
– It is only available in four sizes and not available in typical Twin or Full.
– The materials used in the bed construction make it very heavy, from 70-140 lbs.
– You may find the edge of the bed support to be insufficient for oversized people.
The Purple Mattress is one of the best mattresses given its grid technology system and the strong base which is good in providing you with enough support and comfort by relieving the pressure in the joints as you sleep. It also sleeps cool, beautiful and accommodate all sleeping positions.
4. Amerisleep Revere Mattress
This mattress is one of the Amerisleep mattress families that with a medium firm feeling and is built out of two memory foam layers. The first layer is a 3-inch Bio-Pur foam while the second layer is a 9-inch Bio-Core foam. The top layer foam is high quality memory foam that is eco-friendly as it is made from mostly plant based oils made that relieve pressure and resist heat to allow you to get a good night’s sleep every night. This mattress comes in a variety of sizes including: twin, full, queen, king, California king, twin long, split California king and split eastern king. This means that you can always find the right size mattress no matter what bed size you have. The Amerisleep Revere mattress provides an increased blood flow during sleep hence your body will carry more oxygen because it acts as a transformative agent. It effectively transforms your body heat into infrared light which is also a healthy benefit. This mattress can be described as being the all-in-one type, where you get all the good features in a single mattress.
Why choose Amerisleep Revere Mattress
-The memory foam helps to ensure there are no pressure points and you end up with a more comfortable sleep that can help relieve and prevent back and neck pains.
-Has 3 inches of breathable, comfortable memory foam to ensure your comfort the entire night.
-Made with mainly plant-based oils, dust mite resistant and hypo-allergenic, making it environmentally friendly.
-It is quiet and transfer little motion when sharing the bed.
– It offers all round benefits in one mattress including enough support, cooling effect, medium feel, lightweight, good looks and better health.
What makes Amerisleep revere Mattress among the best for arthritis?
-The mattress may be too soft or too firm to some people depending on individual preferences.
-It may develop a cavity over time.
-Being on the firmer side, this mattress might not be the best for side sleepers.
The Amerisleep Revere memory foam mattress is definitely one to try out especially if you experience back and neck pains from sleeping on a traditional spring mattress. It is neither too soft nor too firm and the memory foam allows air circulation, support and comfortable sleeping throughout the night.
5. Sleep Innovations Shiloh 12 inch Mattress
This mattress has a DuoComfort design made up of two distinctive layers of the bottom 9.5-inch Support-Plus Foam layer and the top 2.5-inch SureTemp Memory Foam. The bottom layer provides support to ensure that the layer above it is properly settled so that the sleeper does not face any issues while sleeping. The top layer caters for the needs of the sleeper by providing extra coolness that helps the person to sleep better and have an extra sense of comfort. The SureTemp Memory Foam layer is equipped with an open-cell technology, which promotes better air circulation. The cover is made of a polyester cotton material that gives a delicate combination of both comfort and convenience. Its medium-firmness is a best choice for side-sleepers because this firmness encourages a relaxing sleep. It also promotes proper spine alignment and helps relax your muscles and body even more. This mattress is protected from dust mites that may cause skin and nasal allergies.
What makes Shiloh Mattress good for arthritis?
– It helps in reducing joint pains because of the adequate foam balance.
– It offers great balance of firmness and softness providing the best comfort quality that is ideal for side sleepers.
– It has good air circulation provided by the open-cell technology.
-It provides a good alignment of the cervical spine and the spinal form which relieves you of your neck, back and waist pains caused by arthritis.
– It is made with high quality and durable materials and will serve you for many years to come.
– It is healthy, comfortable and convenient thanks to the polyester cotton material cover.
Potential concerns with Innovations Shiloh 12 inch mattress
– It is quite heavy and you might have some difficulty in transporting and moving it to other areas of your house.
– This product may have the “smell” of memory foam mattress at first but it will be gone in a few days.
If you want to sleep soundly and happily then this is the mattress for you. The Innovation Shiloh is one mattress that makes sure that your body is properly aligned from head to toe hence say goodbye to mornings of joint and muscle pains. Moreover, this mattress provides relief to pressure points hence giving the therapeutic touch that you badly need after a hard day’s work.
6. Signature Sleep Memoir 12 Inch Memory Foam Mattress
This is a 12-inch memory foam mattress that is made up of two layers: the top 4-inch responsive memory foam and the bottom 8-inch high-density polyurethane foam. The responsive memory foam helps in providing balanced support to your body, limiting motion transfers for those who share the bed and minimizing body pressure. The base layer helps in maintaining the correct balance between conforming comfort and proper support.
The Memoir is known to support body weight evenly, reduce pressure on the shoulders, hips, and feet, and eliminate motion disturbance and unprecedented sleeping experience. It offers consistent comfort given its durable nature and this applies to its different sizes that include the Twin, Full, Queen, and King sizes. It is flexible and accommodates all sleeping positions whether you are a side sleeper, back sleeper, or one that moves around throughout the night. This is because it allows you to get into a comfortable position almost immediately.
What makes Signature sleep memoir Mattress among the best for arthritis?
– It offers very little motion transfer and it is good if you are sharing a bed with a partner since neither of you will be disturbed by moving around or getting in and out of bed.
-It uses high-quality foam that is durable and can last for a few years before it begins to sag.
– It is flexible and accommodates any kind of sleeper.
-It stands out in providing pressure point relief in your shoulders, hip and back hence a good choice for arthritic people.
-It offers good spinal alignment which helps to reduce back pain during sleep.
Potential concerns with Signature Sleep Memoir 12 Inch Memory Foam Mattress
-This is a one-sided mattress and you can’t flip it over as you would with other mattresses.
– Heavier sleepers may find it to be too firm and the mattress may sink in and lose density sooner.
– You may require to use a mattress topper for added softness.
The Signature Sleep Memoir mattress is one of its kind because majority of sleepers find it supportive and meeting all their needs. In this case, it does not give you a reason to struggle looking for a specific mattress. In all honesty, it is the best for someone with arthritis where you are free to sleep in any position to allow your joints to relax.
7. Tuft & Needle Mattress
Tuft & Needle is a 2- layer mattress that is made in USA. The top layer consists of a 3-inch high-performance polyfoam that is designed to provide great comfort, support, and breathability and promote cooling. This comfort layer is usually soft enough to provide the necessary comfort while at the same time offering a good amount of firmness. The bottom layer is made of 7-inch support foam that makes the foundation layer and provides the mattress with its shape. The Tuft & Needle is a high performance Mattress that is affordable yet offers both support and pressure relief for universal comfort thanks to its adaptive foam. It is designed to support the spine’s natural position, eliminate heat trapping and prevent back and neck pains. It is of a medium firm feel and distributes body weight evenly and this means that it offers comfortable sleeping for a majority of sleepers.
What makes Tuft & Needle Mattress among the best for arthritis?
-It has a medium firm feel and is a balanced mattress that provides great support and comfort.
-The mattress is designed to relieve pressure points and alleviate back and neck pains hence recommended for therapy and treatment.
– It is made with cool and breathable material for extra sleeping comfort.
-It offers good motion isolation so that those sharing a bed can sleep without disturbances.
– It is durable and made in the USA.
– It is quite affordable.
Potential concerns with the Tuft & Needle Mattress
– There are side sleepers who still feel that it is too firm and this could be as a result of broad shoulders, wide hips or high sensitivity to pressure.
– You will need to have a firm foundation to mount it on.
– It may take some time for it to soften to its medium-firm state or new users to get used to it.
Tuft & Needle Mattress is a good mattress especially if you are of an average weight, back or stomach sleeper and require a thick mattress. It is also a perfect choice if you need a cooler and cheaper mattress that you can share with your partner.
What Makes a Good Mattress For Arthritis?
The best mattress for arthritis should not create pressure points on hips, shoulders, legs and the neck throughout the night. It is therefore important if you are arthritic to avoid too soft or too firm mattresses that make you sink in too much and exert pressure on joints or place your back in a raised position. It is these bends on the backs and neck that increases pains in joints causing sleepless nights. The perfect solution is to have an alternative mattress to sleep on in order to reduce your pains. In this case there are specific qualities that you should take them seriously when you want to buy the right mattress. These include:
–Firmness and Support: Back and stomach sleepers should look for a firmer mattress that can support their spine. On the other hand, stomach sleepers should consider a softer mattress that allows their hips and shoulders to sink in while keeping their spine aligned.
-Material and Construction: These include soft gel toppers for joint support, firm foams that help back and stomach sleepers or cool-air technology that do not trap heat.
-Temperature: Consider a mattress that does not absorb the heat from your body as you sleep for uninterrupted sleep.
-Durability: The purchase of a mattress is a huge investment and so you have to look for a material that will last as long as possible.
-Thickness: Thicker mattresses often feel softer but too much of it will be harder. A good mattress should not be too thin or thick.
-Warranty: Make you purchase a mattress with a warranty that comes without restrictions.
General Arthritis Home Remedy
Now that you have seen some of the best mattresses for arthritis, let’s delve deep into some of the best arthritis management practices. Arthritis is the joint inflammation or inflammation of the lining membrane which is caused due to some damage and injury. There are various treatments available which can be done through medications or by home remedy also. There are number of treatments available for treating the general arthritis by home remedy and they are:-
- The arthritis patient should be given hot foot baths, ultrasonic diathermy, neutral immersion baths, stream baths and a massage for treating the arthritis. Lukewarm enema can also be given to cleanse the bowels and cold sprays and cold baths should be avoided.
- The arthritis patient should be given two teaspoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey mixed with warm water.
- Bogbean which is an aquatic herb cleans the urinary tract so the arthritis patient is advised to drink lots of water.
- Vitamin E is very effective for treating arthritis as it protects and improves joint mobility.
- The person should take one raw clove of garlic everyday and it should be fried in castor oil or ghee.
- Boswellia is an anti-inflammatory drug and improves circulation to the joints, inflammation and stiffness.
- Only use of acid fruits should be done by the arthritis patient.
- Guggulu is an herb and should be eaten after the meals with warm water. Some oils such as cinnamon oil, camphor oil should be rubbed on the affected joints which will help the arthritis patient to relieve pain.
- Some yogic asanas such as trikonasana, naukasana, shavasana etc and some yogic kriyas like pranayamas, jalneti and kapalbhati are beneficial for treating general arthritis.
- Plenty of rest, right kind of posture mattress, plenty of fresh air and sunshine are necessary for the treatment of arthritis patient. Some breathing exercises and walking should also be done.
- If the patient having arthritis is experiencing stiff and aching joints, mustard oil and coconut oil mixed with camphor should be massaged on the affected joints to relieve pain.
- Oil of wintergreen, eucalyptus oil, rubbing alcohol should be mixed and rubbed on the affected joints.
- Two tablespoons of mullein, one of lobelia and one teaspoon of cayenne should be mixed and a paste should be made. It should be spread on the cloth and placed on the swollen joints.
- Oil of capsicum, oil of origanum, oil of lobelia should be mixed with coconut oil and rubbed on the swollen joints which prove to be the natural remedy for the arthritis patient.
So, the patient can apply any of these treatments to reduce pain and inflammation in the joints.
Further Reading On Osteoarthritis and Management
Exercise is good for everyone— so important that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has established physical activity guidelines to help all Americans harness the healthful power of exercise. The guidelines are for people of all ages – including those who are older or have arthritis or other chronic conditions. The recommendations specify the types and amounts of physical activity per week that can produce long-term health benefits.
The physical activity guidelines for adults (below) are considered to be particularly relevant for people with osteoarthritis (OA), because the evidence of benefits for OA is so strong. The recommendations are also considered to be safe as long as people with OA choose activities within their capabilities and according to their needs. Ask your doctor if you are unsure which types of activity are best for you.
- Doing something active is better than doing nothing. Getting any amount of physical activity is better than getting none. People who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
- If you are able, get the recommended amount of activity. To reap substantial health benefits, every week get at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity—or an equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.* Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes and should be spread throughout the week.
- If you can, do more than that. For additional and more extensive health benefits, increase your aerobic physical activity. Every week aim for 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity or 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
- Do muscle-strengthening workouts, too. In addition, do muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days. Muscle-strengthening exercise should require a moderate or high level of effort and should involve all major muscle groups – legs, hips, back, abdomen, shoulders and arms.
Additional considerations for people with osteoarthritis:
- Younger adults with mild-to-moderate OA. Match the type and amount of physical activity to your abilities and the severity of your symptoms. If you are unsure about what types or amounts of activity are appropriate, consult your health care provider.
- Older adults with other chronic conditions or moderate-to-severe OA. Your level of fitness should guide your level of physical activity. If you cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week because of other health conditions, you should still be as physically active as your abilities and conditions allow. If you are unsure about what types or amounts of activity are appropriate, consult your health care provider.
*1 hour of moderate-intensity aerobic activity = 30 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
Aerobic activity: It’s essential
The guidelines encourage people with OA to be as physically active as possible. This is good advice, as research in people with knee OA shows that physical function benefits improve with greater amounts of activity. Do just a little, if that’s all you can do right now. When you can, do more. If you are already active, increase your activity, if you are able. It’s simple: The more you do, the better!
Aerobic activity: what is “intensity”?
The guidelines recommend getting exercise of moderate intensity, vigorous (high) intensity, or a combination of moderate and high intensity. What’s the difference?
Intensity refers to the amount of energy or effort needed to perform the activity. People breathe faster and their heart pumps more quickly as intensity increases. During moderate-intensity activity, a person can usually talk but not sing. During high-intensity activity, a person can usually say only a few words before needing to take a breath.
Someone who is “out of shape,” will experience an activity as higher intensity than someone who is more aerobically fit. The good news is that everyone’s fitness level increases with regular exercise.
Examples of moderate- and high-intensity activities:
|Type of Activity||Moderate-Intensity||High-Intensity|
|Exercise and leisure||Walking 3 mph or faster (not race-walking), walking carrying a 15-lb child||Race-walking, jogging, running, backpacking, hiking, climbing hills, stair climbing|
|Biking: cycling outdoors on level ground, stationary bike||Biking: cycling at less than 10 mph, mountain biking, spin bike class|
|Gym, other: Pilates, yoga; circuit training, stationary rowing (moderate effort)||Gym: rope skipping, ski or elliptical machine, circuit training (vigorous pace, with minimal rest)|
|Dancing: ballet, modern, jazz, tap, ballroom (waltz, foxtrot, cha cha), Caribbean dance (all moderate effort, as in standard dance, rehearsal, class)||Dancing: ballet, modern, jazz aerobic/fitness dancing, step, dancing, polka, contra, country (all vigorous effort, competition level)|
|Water activities: sailing; snorkeling, swimming laps, water walking or aquatic aerobics (all moderate effort)||Water activities: water skiing; scuba diving, swimming laps, canoeing/rowing/kayaking; and water walking/jogging windsurfing (all vigorous effort)|
|Cold-weather fun: downhill skiing, snow shoeing (all moderate effort)||Cold-weather fun: ice skating or dancing, cross-country skiing, sledding (all vigorous effort)|
|Sports||Games/sports: badminton (non-competitive), bowling, children’s games (hopscotch, tag, dodge ball), bowling, cricket, croquet, golf, horseback riding (no jumps or gallops), tai chi, softball, tennis (doubles, modified), volleyball (non-competitive)||Games/sports: basketball, boxing, football, handball, hockey, horseback riding (jumps, gallops), martial arts (karate, judo, kick boxing), racquetball, rock or mountain climbing, skipping rope, skating/rollerblading, soccer, squash, tennis (singles), volleyball (competitive)|
|Lawn and garden||Firewood: carrying/loading/stacking wood or lumber||Firewood: chopping wood/splitting logs|
|Yard: clearing light brush, weeding garden, digging with a spade, raking leaves, manually trimming shrubs or trees, mowing lawn with a walk-behind power mower||Yard: hauling brush and branches, wheelbarrow chores, shoveling dirt, hoeing, mowing with a hand/push mower, shoveling snow by hand|
|Home activities and repairs||Home care: general cleaning (sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, washing windows), painting, washing and waxing car||Home care: vigorous scrubbing (floors, bathtub), outdoor repairs (installing gutters, carpentry, using a hand saw)|
Source: Adapted from Compendium of Physical Activities: a second update of codes and MET values. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
What types of aerobic activities are best?
The types of aerobic activities that are “best” are different for each person and depend on the person’s overall health and fitness level, the joints involved and severity of OA. Of course, personal preference, location, time and overall convenience all matter a great deal, too, particularly when it comes to finding an activity you will stick with.
Be sure each episode of activity is at least 10 minutes long is of at least moderate intense. This means that biking to work, walking to a store, raking leaves or even playing in the snow would all count. The possibilities for physical activity are endless.
Muscle strengthening—just as important!
Muscle-strengthening exercise (also called resistance training) is essential to achieve overall fitness, and also is a critical component of OA management. Like shock absorbers, muscles help to absorb the force directed to a joint during movement and activity. Muscles also stabilize and support joints. Your joints will appreciate the improved muscle strength that comes from doing aerobic activity, but for specific OA benefits, targeted strengthening exercises are best.
To increase strength, you need to progressively increase the resistance/weight, increase the number of repetitions or sets of repetitions, or decreasing the rest time between exercises.
As a general recommendation, a full routine of moderate- to high-level intensity muscle-strengthening exercises should be performed at least two times per week (but not more than four times) and should work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms). Each session should begin with a warm-up (10 minute of aerobic activity, such as brisk walk or walking in place).
There are countless ways to strengthen muscles, the most common being the use of hand-held weights, resistance bands, weight machines, isometric exercises, or the weight of your own body (for example, push-ups, pull-ups). The specific type of muscle-strengthening activity is less important than knowing how to do the exercises properly to avoid injury.
Daily, gentle stretching helps keep joints and muscles limber, improving joint range of motion. Increase flexibility with by doing a stretching routine or even yoga and tai chi. Stretching should be done after muscles are warmed up by a 10-minute walk or walking in place.
For people struggling with arthritis symptoms, exercise can be the key to a better quality of life.
People don’t always do what is best for their health, such as getting enough physical activity. Sadly, this is even more common for people with osteoarthritis (OA).
A recent study of more than 1,000 men and women with knee OA found that more than half of the women and more than a third of the men were completely inactive, getting no moderate to vigorous exercise lasting at least 10 minutes over the course of a week. Of those who were active, only 13 percent of the men and less than 8 percent of the women met the U.S. guidelines for physical activity.
Don’t let this happen to you! If you’ve become sedentary, get moving again. If you get a good amount of physical activity now, don’t stop. Studies show that the benefits of exercise disappear when people quit.
It can be challenging to start and stick with an exercise habit, particularly for people who are battling pain, stiffness, weakness or fatigue. But these symptoms are the very reasons to make exercise a habit! Scientific evidence shows that people with OA who start regular exercise get significant symptom relief, giving them a greater ability to do the things they need and want to do.
If you are one of those people who need to get more active, take heart. You’ll find that once you find a routine that works for you, the positive results – symptom eased or gone and the ability to live life more fully and independently – will encourage you to keep up your exercise habit.
Success begins with a winning strategy and the right tactics
It is possible to plan for success in any endeavor, regardless how challenging. As successful sports coaches, military generals, and business executives know, the key to success is having a winning strategy, or game plan, for achieving your goal and knowing which tactics (actions, approaches) will help you meet that goal.
When it comes to living the best you can with OA, you need to determine what strategies and tactics make sense and are appropriate for you. Here are some suggestions to get you started on your own personal plan for success in managing OA through regular exercise and physical activity.
- Make exercise a priority. Plan and prepare in advance so your time for exercise is not compromised. Adopt the mindset that other things can wait! Exercise is your priority. Remember, you can get activity in many ways, so look for opportunities whenever and wherever you can find them.
- Set goals. Set yourself up for success by making goals that suit you, your current fitness level and your interests and lifestyle. It’s a good idea to have a big goal, but wise, too, to set small, one or more smaller, realistic goals that will work like stepping stones, helping you reach the bigger goal.
- Anticipate obstacles. Pain, fatigue, illness, work or other obligations, and even the weather can mess up your plans. Have a plan B in place, and know when rest is the better plan.
- Do what you enjoy. The chances of sticking with an activity will be far greater if it is something you like, that feels good or excites you, or that makes you feel happy while you’re doing it. Also, if you keep it simple, you’re more likely to keep at it.
- Get support; don’t go it alone. Studies consistently show that people who exercise with others are more likely to stick with it. You could find an exercise buddy, join an exercise class, work out with a fitness trainer, or make exercise a family affair. A good option is the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk With Ease program.
- Consult your health care team. Most people with mild to moderate OA can figure out on their own which type of physical activity and how much makes sense. People with severe symptoms, poor joint function or other health problems get guidance from their doctor. You might get a referral to a physical therapist or personal trainer who has experience working with people with arthritis.
Hopefully our guide on choosing he best mattress for arthritis has been helpful. We keep updating our list from time to time to ensure that it is sup to date with the best mattresses we’ve tested and researched on.