Osteoarthritis is when articular cartilage, the cartilage that covers the bone at a joint and acts like a cushion and helps it glide through movement, wears down and/or is damaged, it leaves the joint with bone grinding against bone. This can cause pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. This is osteoarthritis. There are many of us that will experience osteoarthritis as we get older. It is a degenerative condition that can be caused or made worse by aging, injury, or pressure from excess body weight. Needless to say, when our joints hurt, we move less. That used to be the recommendation from the medical community as well. If it hurts to do something, then don’t do it. Unfortunately, that’s not what current research shows. The less we move the joint, the weaker the surrounding muscles become and, the weaker they become, the more stress is on the joint. This ongoing stress only makes the pain and discomfort worse.
In general, we all know that we should be exercising. You should be exercising your whole body in general, and particularly the effect joint(s). The current guideline is to gradually build your strength routine until you are working the effected joint(s) as hard as you can tolerate, through as great a range of motion as you can tolerate. This helps maximize the strength gains and maintain your joint flexibility.
Another benefit to exercising with osteoarthritis is that exercise helps to control weight. Excess body weight adds pressure to the joints and can create and/or accelerate joint damage.
“Exercising may be the last thing you want to do when your joints are stiff and achy. But it’s crucial for easing pain and staying active.” Harvard Health Publications. Osteoarthritis doesn’t need to be a sentence to an inactive lifestyle. Find guidance from a health and fitness professional who can create a gradually progressive program that is appropriate for your individual needs, and you can lessen the pain and discomfort that osteoarthritis causes you.