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Lift Chairs Helpful or Hurtful?

Posted July 1, 2013
You or someone you love is considering getting a lift recliner. How do you know if it is the right move? Arthritis suffers know all to well the difficulty associated with getting in and out of a chair. Would your loved one benefit from a lift recliner? Studies have shown that people with arthritis who exercise benefit by reducing joint pain and stiffness while increasing flexibility, muscle strength, cardiac fitness and endurance. So does a lift chair contribute to leg muscle decline? Small groups of therapist feel that since the chair does the leg work involved a patient will see a decline in their own muscle strength. The overwhelming majority of the medical community does not feel this is reason enough to refrain from purchasing a lift chair. The true factors to consider are the cognitive and safety awareness of the user. For example, will the user remember to extend their knees to stand or forget and end up sliding out?  
The key to retaining mobility is to participate in a strength training program recommended by your doctor. Just like your cane, the lift chair is a tool. It is meant to aid in the transition from sitting to standing and vice versa. Many arthritis suffers find the transition difficult on their own. A lift chair eliminates the pain and the odds of falling while making the transition.
What types of exercise are most suitable for someone with arthritis? Range of motion exercises such as dance, help relieve stiffness and maintain flexibility. Strengthening exercises such as weight training increase muscle strength adding support to affected joints. Aerobic exercise such as bicycle riding improves cardiovascular fitness improving overall function.
Exercises are not a one size fits all. There are many factors to consider such as the type of arthritis, joints involved, levels of inflammation, stability of joints and if there have been joint replacements. To get started with a program your first step is to discuss options with your doctor.
- Begin your program with supervision from a therapist or qualified   athletic trainer.
- Apply heat to sore joints; many begin their exercise program this   way.
- Stretch and warm up range of motion exercises.
-  Start strengthening exercises slowly with small weights.
-  Progress slowly.
-  Apply cold packs after exercising.
-  Add aerobic exercise.
-  Ease off if your joints become painful, inflamed or red. Have your    doctor help find an alternative exercise or remedy for the increased inflammation.
Consider appropriate recreational exercise (after doing range-of-motion, strengthening, and aerobic exercise). Fewer injuries to joints affected by arthritis occur during recreational exercise if it is preceded by range-of-motion, strengthening, and aerobic exercise that gets your body in the best condition possible. What is considered physical activity and what is exercise? A simple rule to separate the two is as follows. Physical activity refers to everyday life activities such as house work or employment. These are good starting points to increase your endurance and ability to exercise. Physical exercise uses exertion to improve minimally one aspect of your physical fitness.
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Some of the great lift chair manufacturers featured on Lift Chairs 101.
  • Pride Mobility
  • Golden Technologies
  • Med-Lift
  • Winco