Exploring the Many Benefits of Exercise for Arthritis
We all know regular exercise is beneficial: mentally, physically and emotionally. We also know it can be hard to motivate ourselves sometimes, especially if we are dealing with the pain of osteoarthritis.
One of my special interests is arthritis. This includes osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis which is a whole new kettle of fish and is an inflammatory disorder.
I love finding the results of new research and exercise which can help keep you moving. You just can’t escape a medical background sometimes!
Once thought to be a wear and tear ailment, scientists now believe that OA is a disease of the joints, although joint damage caused by joint stress is still considered a major cause!
OA can be severely debilitating and can cause great pain, most especially in those joints that have been used and abused the most: knees, hands, fingers, spine. There are a variety of methods for treatment, and exercise is crucial to maintaining movement and easing stiffness. There is no cure.
Why Do We Get Osteoarthritis?
According to latest research, genetics play a huge part in the occurrence of OA. Joint injury can cause wear and tear. Occupation can be responsible if you had a job that involved repetitive strain on your joints, especially hands, knees and hips.
Another cause is stress on the joints from playing sports. Finally, being overweight, or having excess weight, makes it harder for the joints to perform and harder for you to exercise.
Reading and Exercise Help
An excellent article on exercise for those over 60 is Living with Arthritis from the NHS. It covers everything from finding solutions to difficult tasks, to diet, to exercise.
The Arthritis Organisation in the US provides a series of videos that cover range of motion, posture, floor exercises, stretching and endurance.
Each video is two minutes long, and there are a different number of videos per section. They are FREE to view and are excellent for those whose arthritis is slowing them down.
The approach of moving regularly (2 minutes every 20 minutes) for general health is known to be effective. In fact, the most effective non-drug treatment for reducing pain and improving movement in osteoarthritis is exercise! It may not feel as though it is, but not moving causes stiffness which can be difficult to ease.
It is necessary to stretch daily! It increases mobility and maintains the range of motion. Some studies suggest that regular stretching battles signs of aging, and all studies recommend stretching for osteoarthritis!
Walking can be very painful, especially when the weather is damp. It’s fairly low impact on the joints, and the only other form of exercise that beats walking is swimming.
Staying weightless and warm is good for your arthritic joints. But, if walking is a trial, why not try some trekking poles? They ease the strain on your knees and ankles and gets you moving all over.
Walk or swim or try something else that appeals but keep moving. I wrote an article specifically for easing arthritic pain through exercise.
Do you have osteoarthritis? What do you do to keep moving? Do you watch your diet? Do you take supplements? Let’s pool our information and see how many people we can help with this painful and debilitating part of aging. Please join the conversation below.
Penelope Whiteley is a coach and mentor. Her lifestyle blog for women over 50, focuses on beauty, fitness and fashion and travel for the solo woman, as well as lifestyle and anti-aging.