Though the pain of arthritis, in which the protective cartilage at the ends of joints wears away, may make you want to avoid physical activity, the right exercise can ease discomfort.
A 2015 Cochrane review of 54 studies found that people with knee arthritis who were enrolled in exercise programs-mostly involving both aerobics and strength training, but also tai chi- reported less pain and an improved ability to perform basic daily tasks compared to those who did no exercise.
Getting started: Good form is key with osteoarthritis, to avoid muscle imbalances that can worsen discomfort. A physical therapist or certified personal trainer can show you how to perform exercises properly so that you can then do them at home or at a gym on your own. You can also check arthritis.org for arthritis-friendly exercise classes. Aim for 150 weekly minutes of low impact activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling.
With strength training, pay close attention to your leg muscles if you have hip or knee arthritis. “Strong muscles take pressure off the joints and improve stability, which can help prevent falls,” says Edward Laskowski, M.D., co-director of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine and a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation. If pain persists or exercise makes it worse, see your doctor.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health September 2016
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