As you’ve probably heard from your doctor, regular exercise is an important part of staying healthy long-term.1 Among other benefits, physical activity can help you increase your strength and flexibility, relieve stress and boost your self-esteem.1 But staying active can be challenging when you have gout. You might agree that it sounds like a good idea, but you may have also asked yourself, “How can I stay active when I have gout?”
Exercise is for everyone
Regular physical activity is very important, and having limited mobility due to gout does not mean you cannot exercise. Plus, physical activity does not have to be strenuous to be beneficial.1 Some good forms of exercise for older people and/or people with limited mobility include:
- Yoga and/or Pilates2—Both yoga and Pilates can help you strengthen and build muscle. They can also help you improve your flexibility.
- Water exercise2—Swimming, water exercise and water aerobics are especially good for people who suffer with weak or damaged joints.
- Resistance training3—Resistance training can help you build strength, improve stamina and prevent falls.
- Walking2,3—Walking has been shown to have both physical and mental benefits. In addition to burning calories, it can help you reduce stress and boost your confidence.
- Rowing2—Rowing provides a low-impact cardio and resistance workout for the entire body that can be adjusted to almost any fitness level.
- Tai Chi2—A combination of movement and meditation, this Chinese martial art may help increase your strength and flexibility as well as improve your cognitive function.
Talk with your doctor before you start
Before you begin any exercise program, be sure to talk with your doctor.1,3 Ask what types of exercise(s) is/are best for you, and if there are any activities you should avoid. You’ll also want to find out how often you should exercise. Work together to set short-term and long-term activity goals.
Avoid exercise during a gout attack or gout flare
Although it’s important to get regular physical activity, you should never try to exercise during a gout flare or gout attack.4 Ask your doctor how soon you may resume your routine once your symptoms have subsided.
Take it slow, especially at first
Always go at your own pace. You may find it easier to exercise some days than others, and that is completely normal. Also be sure to keep your goals manageable. Reaching even small fitness goals may help you to feel more confident and help you to stay motivated.
Exercise is an investment in yourself, and you are worth it! As you become more active, be sure to continue to eat healthfully, get plenty of rest, take your medications as prescribed and see your doctor regularly.
NOTE: This article was not written by a medical professional and is not intended is to substitute for the guidance of a physician. These are not Hikma’s recommendations for gout flare prevention, but rather facts and data collected from various reliable medical sources. For a full list of resources and their attributing links, see below.