Arthritis and Excercise

by : Devin Sledgehammer

Exercise is an integral part of human life to maintain the vitality and vigor and subsequently the quality of life. Although all of us are privy to this fact, most of us tend to procrastinate or avoid it altogether. Arthritis is a very common ailment that underlines the need to exercise in order to prevent it and keep fit.
When we are down with any ailment, it is best advised that we forego all activity and rest. Most often this is the wisest path to take but not in case of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can cause atrophy, a condition wherein the muscle and bone tend to degrade due to lack of action or exercise. Rest during osteoarthritis can have devastating and often debilitating effects.
Osteoarthritis tends to speed up the degeneration process due to the patient cutting back on normal exercise. This results in gradual loss of cartilage, decreases muscle tone and strength and inhibits flexibility and renders thinner bones hindering normal motion. Exercise, in these cases certainly helps retard the degenerating process.
Although many treatments of this kind of arthritis contain glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates which can rebuild cartilage, the importance of keeping up the exercise is never lost.

Exercise also comes with numerous other benefits like stress reduction, weight loss, immunity increase and basic quality of life. Exercise benefits cartilage building by feeding it. Medication only form the cartilage but exercise make sure that the cartilage gets the right nutrition to grow by enhancing the flow of synovial fluid through it, resulting in nourishment and lubrication. The presence of synovial fluid in the cartilage inhibits growth of osteoarthritis.

Choosing the right exercise if of paramount importance in cases of arthritis. The most important factors to consider are that the exercise program should be able to:
Strengthen muscles, ligaments and tendons that support the joint structure.
Increase flexibility and range of motion of the joint effected.
Should not result in pain or damage to the joint.
Walking, swimming and light weight training are the best choices. All exercises should be done with professional consultation with your therapist and exercising caution and moderation is very important.
Walking and swimming can help your flexibility and have no strict rules to adhere to. Do them as much as you can to increase flexibility and fitness. However, to regain the joint strength, weight training may be a necessity. Weight training, by far, has proven to be most effective. Care and caution are necessary to perform weight training and should be done according to the book and correctly. Start very slowly and with lighter weights, it may take some time to graduate to bigger things in weight training. It is advised to take advice from a professional and your therapist before embarking upon any sort of weight training.