One of the best ways to prevent kidney stones and the recurrence of gout is to exercise. Aside from helping you stay in shape and maintaining a healthy body weight, exercise provides your body with many benefits, some of which include:
- Strengthening, building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints
- Improve mobility and flexibility
- Improves circulation
- Reduces the risk of heart disease and premature death
- Reduces the risk of cancer
- Reduces the risk of developing diabetes
- Reduces the risk of high cholesterol and lowers high cholesterol
- Reduces stress and improves your mental state of mind
- Gives you more energy
All of the exercise benefits listed above help to prevent the recurrence of gout. This is because regular exercise combined with a healthy controlled diet, helps to lower and control uric acid levels. Thus, engaging in regular exercise is particularly important for those who are overweight or obese, as both of these conditions can cause high uric acid levels. That being said, one should not engage in rapid weight loss by overexercising or taking part in crash diets. Losing weight too quickly can have the reverse affect and actually cause the uric acid levels in the blood to rise.
In addition, it is imperative that you learn how to do exercises correctly. The last thing you want is to injure your joints or cause inflammation as a result of excessive exercise or improper movements. Your goal when exercising is to protect your joints at all time.
Exercises for gout – The following are exercises that are particularly helpful in preventing gout. Note: Always remember to consult your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.
- Range of motion exercises – This type of exercise is designed to keep your joints flexible and mobile and reduce stiffness. An example, involving your foot, would be rotating your ankle in a circular motion.
- Strengthening exercises – These exercises are designed to increase and/or maintain the strength of your muscles. Strengthening exercises are usually performed using weights. However, they can also include resistance exercises such as holding a giant rubber band in your hands and stretching it. This type of exercise helps to build muscles.
- Endurance exercises – These exercises are designed to strengthen your heart, increase circulation, boost your energy and control weight. Exercises include aerobics, walking, cycling, swimming, etc
- Stretching exercises – Stretching exercises help to increase flexibility and muscle strength. Good exercises including yoga, pilaties and tai chi. However, it is important that you engage in moderate stretching exercises, especially in the beginning, so you don’t risk pulling, twisting or injuring a joint. You should receive proper instructions before doing any of these exercises on your own.
Important information about exercise and gout - Although exercise is ideal for gout sufferers, it is imperative that one knows when it is best to exercise and when it is not. It is also important that one understands what exercise can and can’t do for gout.
First of all, you should never exercise a joint that is inflamed, regardless if the inflammation has been caused by gout or not. Exercising an inflamed joint can worsen the condition by causing more pain and prolonging inflammation. Only begin exercise after the inflammation has eased and take it slow.
When a joint is inflamed you need to focus on easing the inflammation by ensuring the joint is well rested and relaxed. You can also treat the inflammation by applying warm and cool compresses, or with anti-inflammatory medications. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment during this time.
In addition, exercise has no effect on breaking up uric acid crystals, stones or tophi. Exercise helps to control uric acid levels and prevent gout; it can’t do much during a gout attack.