If you have osteoarthritis, exercise is absolutely crucial to your well-being. Addressing your diet is also important, both for weight loss and for controlling inflammation and promoting healthy bones and cartilage
People who eat a processed and fried food diet high in sugars and red meat are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, poultry, and fish
10 exercises that can help improve flexibility and strength in your hip joint are included, along with three alternative treatment modalities for osteoarthritis, and eight supplements helpful for pain and inflammation
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative form of arthritic joint disease, characterised by loss of cartilage in the joint. It also has an inflammatory component. Osteoarthritis is a frequent cause of disability among seniors, affecting 20 million people in the U.S. alone.
While osteoarthritis typically involves the distal joints on your fingers and toes, knee and hip osteoarthritis is also common, the latter of which is the focus of this article.
Contrary to popular belief, if you have osteoarthritis then exercise is absolutely crucial to your well-being.
Unfortunately, many with joint pain shun exercise. According to previous research,1 over 40 percent of men and 56 percent of women with osteoarthritis don't even get 10 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week.
Less than 13 percent of men and less than 8 percent of women met the guideline of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity, low-impact activity per week.
According to the lead researcher, "The fact that so many people with arthritis are inactive should be a wake-up call to physicians."Indeed, if physicians could see the importance of exercise to their arthritis patients, many would benefit immensely.
Your Diet Matters
Addressing your diet is also critical, both for weight loss and for controlling inflammation, and promoting healthy bones and cartilage.
Homemade bone broth is an outstanding staple food if you have arthritis, as it contains a number of important nutrients for your bones and joints, including minerals, components of collagen and cartilage, silicon, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate.
Two recent studies2 confirmed that people who eat a processed and fried food diet high in sugars and red meat are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disorder) than those who eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, poultry, and fish.
A number of supplements such as turmeric, Hyaluronic acid, and astaxanthin, among others, may also be helpful for controlling the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
How Does Exercise Benefit Osteoarthritis?
The notion that exercise is detrimental to your joints is a misconception; there is no evidence to support this belief. It's simply a myth that you can "wear down" your joints such as your knees and hips from average levels of exercise and/or normal activity.
Rather, the evidence points to exercise having a positive impact on joint tissues. Importantly, exercise can help reduce joint pain and make it easier for you to perform daily tasks.
Also, if you exercise sufficiently to lose weight or maintain an ideal weight, you reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis in the first place.
Arthritis rates are more than twice as high in obese people as those who are normal weight, because the extra weight puts more pressure on your joints. This can not only lead to osteoarthritis, it can also make the condition exponentially worse.
How to Exercise Safely with Osteoarthritis
People with arthritis must be careful to avoid activities that aggravate joint pain. You should avoid any exercise that strains a significantly unstable joint. That said, do include a range of activities in your exercise program, just as any other exerciser would. Weight training, high-intensity cardio, stretching, and core work can all be integrated into your routine according to your ability.
If you have osteoarthritis in your knee, be sure to incorporate exercises that strengthen the quadriceps muscle at the front of your thigh. And, rather than running or other high-impact exercise, you may be better off with non-weight-bearing exercises like swimming and bicycling.
According to a recent review of 19 studies, land- and water-based exercises have similar benefits for hip osteoarthritis in the short term. According to Reuters:3
"The 19 studies in the review all tested different type, frequency, and duration of exercise, so the best sort of exercise, how much and how often to do it, remains to be determined ... [but it] would appear that ... exercises generally including strengthening and range of motion three times per week is beneficial ..."
If you find that you're in pain for longer than one hour after your exercise session, you should slow down or choose another form of exercise. Assistive devices are also helpful to decrease the pressure on affected joints during your workout. You may also want to work with a physical therapist or qualified personal trainer who can develop a safe range of activities for you.
Contact HIGHealth to learn how to improve your diet to target inflammation and joint pain.