Osteoarthritis: The Benefits of Exercise
There are many benefits to starting an exercise program — whether you have osteoarthritis or not — but for people with arthritis pain, there's added incentive to get moving. Regular exercise can help to: Reduce joint pain. Osteoarthritis destroys cartilage, special tissue that cushions our joints. “Exercise increases the lubrication to the cartilage of the joint, thus reducing osteoarthritis symptoms of pain and stiffness,” says Anne Menz, PhD, a physical therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, Mass. It may seem counterintuitive, but not exercising actually leads to stiffer joints and worse osteoarthritis. Strengthen muscles. As we get older the muscles and tendons that support our joints tend to get weaker. “Exercise strengthens the muscles around the joints to protect the joints and provide [extra] support,” says Menz. More information
Exercises to Avoid With OA of the Knee or Hip:
Running and jogging. “The difference between how much force goes through your joints jogging or running, as opposed to with walking, is sometimes more than tenfold your whole body weight,” says Arslanian. Jumping rope.
Any activity where, at any time, you have both feet off the ground at once, however briefly.
Fortunately, that leaves a lot of activities that are OK for people with knee and hip osteoarthritis and that can help keep you mobile. There are three key areas you need to focus on: weight-bearing cardiovascular activity, to keep your bones strong and your heart healthy; muscle strengthening activity, to relieve strain on the joints; and flexibility and range of motion, to help prevent falls and keep your joints mobile. More information.