Exercise and Gout

Arthritis, Healthy Aging, Healthy Living
on June 27, 2011

As with most types of arthritis, exercise is a crucial component to living with gout. Exercise may help reduce the uric acid levels in the blood by better regulating weight and circulation, effectively lowering the chances of uric acid crystals inside the joints. While exercise may be the last thing on your mind during an agonizing acute gouty attack, bear in mind that it may be instrumental in warding off the next one.

How exercise helps gout. According to the Mayo Clinic, “high levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood (hyperlipidemia) and narrowing of the arteries (arteriosclerosis)" make it more likely that you’ll develop gout. Exercise has shown to lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, as well as increase the body’s ability to metabolize fat. In addition, arterial dilation is one of the many beneficial side effects of exercise. Most importantly for gout sufferers, regular exercise can help with weight management, as well as with toning the muscles around the joint. With better muscle support, less stress is applied to the joint, and so it may be beneficial in reducing the pain and inflammation during the next attack.

When to exercise. Inflamed joints may be in danger of becoming more painful, inflamed and damaged with certain types of movement. If you are at a stage where gout only comes in flare-ups and then goes away, exercise while you have no gout symptoms, and then rest the afflicted joints during acute gouty attacks. For chronic gout where there are few or no asymptomatic periods, talk to your doctor about the best time to exercise.

Good exercises for gout sufferers. Always discuss an exercise plan with your doctor before you begin, factoring in the gout stage, severity and commonly afflicted joints. Most likely your doctor will recommend low-impact exercises such as swimming, using an elliptical machine, or doing resistance exercises. By following a healthy exercise schedule, you may notice lower incidences of fatigue, as well as an increase in energy with which to enjoy everyday life.