Arthritis and Exercise: Movement Really is the Best Medicine
By Dr. Adam Carter, DPT, CF-L2, CSCS
Some believe arthritis runs in their family. Some believe that it is just part of getting older. Some believe that it is from playing too many sports when they were younger. While some of these beliefs may have some truth to them, a bigger risk factor for developing arthritis is your lifestyle. Sedentary behavior or inactivity as well as having higher body fat percentages are two of the risk factors for the development of arthritis. Increased body fat leads to more systemic inflammation which makes sense when you understand arthritis as an inflammatory dysfunction. Not to mention the foods usually consumed by those that are carrying around a few extra pounds highly inflammatory in themselves.
Sedentary behavior typicallys leads to not using the full capacity or range of motion of your joints. You see in order to lubricate the surfaces of our joints you actually need to compress and decompress the surfaces in order to draw-in the fluids and nutrients the joint surfaces need to stay healthy. Think of squeezing a sponge in order to make it soak up water. While most of us load parts of our tissues adequately on a daily basis, many of us fail to load every little corner of our joint surface (think of going down into a deep squat) and it is these unloaded regions that don’t get the lubrication or nutrients they need to stay healthy. A simple way to work your joints through their full range of motion is by doing the world’s greatest stretch. You can find a video for that here. OR for a modified version click here.
Linked below are a couple of articles that talk about the efficacy of exercise on OA of the hips and knees for anyone that is interested. Let us know if you need any exercise tips for arthritis pain.
Keep it moving,
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