Five fantastic reasons to get exercising if you have Osteoarthritis!
We all know at least one person who suffers from osteoarthritis. The most common form of arthritis, it affects millions worldwide and a recent study showed that in a sample of 670 Sri Lankan females of 50 years or more, 20% showed signs of knee osteoarthritis*. Although the disease is well known for its effects on the knee, it can actually appear in any joint of the body – causing pain, stiffness and general discomfort for the sufferer.
Let’s break it down, what causes osteoarthritis?
The causes revolve around joint damage: it can be caused by wear & tear (reason why it’s more prevalent amongst the older population), past injury (torn cartilage, ligament injuries or dislocations) or the condition of the body (poor posture, obesity).
Okay but what exactly is osteoarthritis and what does it do to your joints?
Every joint in your body has a protective substance around it called cartilage. Cartilage is soft, flexible and pliable. It protects the ends of the bones and prevents them from rubbing up against each other – facilitating painfree movement. When cartilage wears away for any of the above reasons, the bones begin to rub against each other and become rough. It irritates surrounding tissues and causes pain leading to the familiar symptoms.
Alright now let’s hear it for the good news.
Getting diagnosed with osteoarthritis isn’t a life sentence of pain and medication. Sedentary lifestyles haven’t helped anyone yet so here’s five reasons to step away from the TV and get moving!
1) Oil the joint: It may seem a little illogical but the best way to ease the pain, is to move the joint. Exercise has shown to improve lubrication of joints and reduce joint pain.
2) Strengthen the muscles: Joints are essentially levers upon which muscles act to move the body. When these muscles are weak, the joints lack support and structure. Engaging in a low impact strength building exercise such as Pilates strengthens the muscles without harming the joint!
3) Stretch: Methods like Pilates or Yoga gently stretch the muscles thus reducing stress and compression in the joints. The stretching action allows for increased blood flow and thus increased nutrient flow to tissues to keep them healthier.
4) Improve posture: Correct postural alignment eases the strain on joints by preventing overloading. Especially at Barressential, we look to identify postural misalignments and correct these using strengthening and stretching techniques using Pilates.
5) Reduce weight: Engaging in a regular exercise routine leads to the reduction of excess fat in the body. This reduces the load on joints (such as the knee) and helps alleviate pain.
At Barressential, we are certified in post-rehabilitative Pilates which means we have an arsenal of skills, tools & knowledge to help anyone suffering from osteoarthritis (amongst many other conditions).
Convinced yet? If you would like to set up an introductory assessment and a tailored Pilates program to help you alleviate your osteoarthritic symptoms, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Prashasansie, H., Gunawardena, NS., Atukorala, I. et al (2018) Prevalence of knee osteoarthritis in a suburban, Sri Lankan, adult female population., Int J Rheum Dis., 21(2):394-401