Arthritis and Exercise
Osteoarthritis is one of the primary reasons behind the knee and hip procedures. While we have made it our specialty to improve the quality of life of those afflicted by the discomfort of arthritic conditions, we also recognize the value of low-impact exercise for the early management of deteriorating joints.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis describes conditions in which swelling and stiffness occur in the joints of the body. This inflammation can lead to severe damage that inhibits functional movement. Because it is estimated that 67% of the population may have arthritis by 2030, discussion related to this topic is warranted now. Contrary to popular belief, arthritis is not an “old person” condition. Patients in their forties and fifties, and some even younger struggle with arthritic joints and what to do about them.
Why Arthritis Develops
There are several reasons for the onset of arthritis, including:
- Physically demanding lifestyle
- Poor autoimmune function
Why Swimming is an Excellent Activity for Arthritis Management
Conservative treatments are typically suggested at the onset of arthritis care. Surgery can be beneficial in some instances, but usually much later in the progression of symptoms. According to research, physical activity is advantageous for the management of joint stiffness and comfort. However, the pain caused by arthritis can set up a nice double-edged sword situation. It hurts to exercise, and yet exercise is what the joints need.
Immersing oneself in a pool of water counteracts gravity. Therefore, water aerobics and swimming are often some of the most highly recommended conservative activities for people with arthritis. The buoyancy of the water combines with subtle heat to loosen stiff joints while supporting muscle movements that lead to greater overall joint stability.
Maintaining the Balance
While water exercises seem ideal for the person with arthritic knees or hips, there is something to remember. Bone health is supported by weight-bearing exercise. This is particularly relevant for older women who are at an increased risk for the development of osteoporosis.
In combination, water exercise and a low-impact weight-bearing exercise program may alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis to such a degree that surgical treatment is not needed as soon as it may be otherwise.
Do you have questions about knee or hip arthritis? We are happy to speak with you. Contact our Paramus office at 201-291-4040.