Arthritis Alternatives
Bodywork and Exercise
The StairClimber
Or, Why You Need a Second (or Third, or Fourth) Opinion
  Suggested First Steps  
  The Mind
Why Mind-Body?
Relaxation Quickies
Expressing Feelings
Power of Thoughts

  Food and Diet
  Healthy Foods
Foods to Avoid
Testing for Allergies
Mind-Body Eating
  Bodywork and Exercise
Alexander Technique
Nordic Walking
  About the Author  

I had a feeling a stairclimber would be good for me, especially after reading about the importance of weight training and learning that the stationary bicycle doesn't help osteoporosis.

My rheumatologist was against it because of active rheumatoid arthritis in my knees. So I got another doctor to prescibe physical therapy. The physical therapist didn't approve either. She grudgingly showed me her stairclimber and when I had some initial problems using it, she said no, not for you.
Okay, so I dropped it. I'm a cautious person and I didn't want to hurt myself.

A year later I was with a different physcial therapist for an unrelated problem. He had just been reviewing the exercise equipment at my local YMCA: With the right instructions from a knowledgable person, certain stairclimbers are safe, even for me, and very beneficial. The instructor at the YMCA showed me which stairclimbers I can safely use and which settings are appropriate. She stood there with me while I got comfortable using the equipment. At this point, I know the warning signs that I am hurting myself. I am careful and I do not push myself. I stretch before and after. I've had no problems and now enjoy an aerobic weight bearing exercise that strengthens the muscles that support my knee joints.

Stretching exercises afterwards are a must. Arthritis is a disease where things contract and after exercise your muscles contract even more. So if you decide to try a stairclimber, it is a necessity to learn safe stretching exercises to do after you exercise. Also, after I get off the stairclimber and before I stretch, I find it helpful to walk around the room for a few minutes.

There are people with arthritis who should not use the stairclimber. You need to know yourself. You need to know (from your doctor or from a physcial therapist), the warning signs that you are hurting yourself. But a lot of doctors don't know about all the equipment. If you feel that a particular exercise might be good for you and your doctor says, "no," get a second opinion.

Note: A stairclimber is different than walking up and down steps. Walking up and down stairs puts an unhealthy strain on arthritic knees and should not be considered as an exercise.

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