Exercise & Prevention

Arthritis can literally make you weak. Whether it’s due to joint cartilage breaking down because of the age-related “wear and tear” of osteoarthritis (OA), or an inflammatory process caused by disease such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the bone underneath deteriorates causing you to lose muscle strength. The good news is that moderate exercise, along with a healthy diet, can help you regain power and ease the pain of arthritis.

Those with arthritis can gain the most from a moderate mixture of exercise, including non-weight bearing aerobic exercise such as walking, biking and swimming. In fact, a report published online in Arthritis Care & Research showed that patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) can decrease their likelihood of developing functional limitations by walking more. The study showed that those who walked an additional 1,000 steps per day lowered their risk for further joint deterioration from arthritis by 16 percent. Those who walked a total of 5,000 to 7,499 steps daily cut their risk by half.

When starting an exercise program, it is recommended that you begin with low-impact exercises that are completed two to three times a week to gain the most benefit for joint health. Stretching and strengthening exercises also play an important part in joint health. Yoga, Pilates and weight lifting are good ways to stretch and strengthen your muscles and support your joints. Your doctor or healthcare provider can guide you on the best exercise plan to help you manage your arthritis.

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