How exercise can help osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis caused by the inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. The cartilage wears down over time. Osteoarthritis is a common cause of joint damage, especially in the hands, hips, knees, lower back, and hands. Symptoms normally begin after the age of 40 years, but they can affect younger people after a traumatic injury. It is more likely to affect women than men after the age of 50 years.

Regular exercise can keep the large muscles, such as those in the legs, strong and flexible, and help improve the weight bearing joints for those with Osteoarthritis. It is considered the best non-drug treatement! Although any workout should consider abdominal strengthening when dealing with Osteoarthritis, it’s important to also include lower limb, joint mobility, pelvic stability, leg alignment and balance.

Before beginning with planning any exercise routine, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider. Here are some exercise ideas to include in that conversation;

Pilates

Pilates is an ideal style of exercise for people with osteoarthritis because it’s low impact, versatile and can be easily scaled up or down. It can be done in a studio or the home as long as the movements are practised safely and correctly to ensure it remains effective.

Strength conditioning

Training to improve muscle strength and condition helps to support and decompress joints. It may depend on where on the body an individual suffers from osteoarthritis, but typical areas to strengthen include abdominals, calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteals.

Whole body vibration

Vibration machines using Whole Body Vibration (WBV) has been a hot topic in fitness in recent years. Research is proving its effectiveness, especially when it comes to arthritis. Whole body vibration has great potential to reduce the intensity of pain as well as increasing the strength of important muscles like the quadriceps and improve balance performance.

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