Osteoarthritis refers to changes in the cartilage and bone of a joint e.g., knee or hip. As a result, you may present with symptoms of joint pain, stiffness and feel as if your joints are weak and not stable. The primary reason for the pain is a small amount of inflammation occurs with osteoarthritis and that is why we may feel pain and stiffness. But if our joint gets stiff and pain becomes worse, we become less physically active and stop moving, which causes our joints to become more painful and stiff.
While you may be worried that exercising with osteoarthritis will cause more harm than good, as you may feel it will increase the pain to the affected area. Though the research shows that people with osteoarthritis can and should be more physically active. Exercise is considered the most effective, economical, and non-drug treatment way for reducing pain and improving mobility. Exercise doesn’t just help manage osteoarthritis symptoms but prevents changes in the bone and joint (which is common with osteoarthritis).
If you start increasing your physical activity today it will:
- Reduce joint pain by increasing the lubrication to the cartilage of the joint
- Strengthen the muscles around the joint for protection
- Decrease the pressure on the joint, by aiding weight loss
- Improve overall health by decreasing all the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle, like high blood pressure, diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke
To start, check with your GP to get the green light, then start slowly and finding enjoyable ways to incorporate exercise in your daily routine i.e., walking program, group classes. The more you enjoy the activity more likely you will stick with it.