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Exercise away your arthritic pain

YOU MIGHT THINK that if you have arthritis, exercise is the last thing you should be doing? In fact, so long as you are careful and do the right workout, you could reduce your joint pain and improve your mobility. Find out how...

Lose weight to take the strain off your joints

Carrying extra bodyweight puts extra strain on your joints, making everyday wear and tear much worse. In particular your hip and knee joints can be badly damaged by the burden of carrying those extra pounds. One study examined the factors contributing to total knee and hip replacements in people between the ages of 18 and 50. A remarkable 72 percent of those who underwent joint replacement surgery were overweight. Just as putting on weight increases the chance of arthritis, losing excess weight reduces it. Even losing just a small amount of weight can improve joint health and function and reduce joint pain. A study of overweight women showed that a weight loss of merely 11 pounds reduced their risk of developing knee osteoarthritis by half.

Just a small amount of exercise per day can make a big difference. Talk to your doctor about what they are happy for you to do – they will also be able to direct you to a nutritionist, to get a healthy eating plan in place.

Get your blood flowing to mend your joints

Your body is amazingly resistant to damage and its capacity to heal itself is equally stunning. Every time you move you joint cartilage has to soak up the bumps (like a living shock absorber) and your body needs nutrients to do this. Exercise will get your blood flowing and channel these vital vitamins and minerals to just where your body needs them.

Build muscle to help protect your joints

Muscles surround your joints, holding them together and supporting them. When these muscles aren’t used enough, they begin to waste away – this means your joints are not supported well enough, increasing the chances of wear and damage. Using these muscles regularly will increase your flexibility and mobility. Take a look at our range of exercises to build up this vital muscle around problem joints.

Before you start...

If you are at all unsure about any exercise, please consult your doctor. Launching straight into vigorous exercise (especially if it has been a while since you worked out) could do more harm than good. Doctors advise that if you suffer with pain in a particular joint, you should apply heat to it for 5 minutes before exercise. They also advise that after exercise, you should apply a cold compress to problem joints which will reduce stiffness.