Because arthritis sufferers experience pain when they move, many conclude that not moving is healthier because it doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately, that is one instance where listening to your body is not the best course of action. I hope the following information will alter that conclusion.
First, some startling statistics on arthritis from Ashley Boynes.
Some 50 million Americans have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. That’s 22% of the population, more than 1-in-5 adults!
Arthritis costs the US economy $128 BILLION per year.
Sad statistic – 31% of US 18-64 year olds with arthritis can’t work, or report work limitations.
Arthritis is the number one MOST common disability.
Some 32 percent of veterans surveyed in 36 States had been diagnosed with arthritis, compared with 22 percent of non-veterans, representing a 50% increased risk for arthritis for veterans.
More than 1,000,000 joints will be replaced this year alone.
To answer the question about suitability of exercising with arthritis, I recently attended a Northwestern Memorial Hospital Healthy Transitions presentation on Arthritis and Exercise.
Jill Stein Certified Personal Trainer offered the following reasons why arthritis sufferers should exercise:
Exercise increases strength and flexibility and reduces joint pain.
Exercise is important for strengthening strong muscles to support joints.
Exercise maintains bone strength.
Exercise helps to provide energy for everyday activities.
Exercise promotes better sleep.
Exercise helps to controls weight.
At the same presentation, Sonia Settler, Physical Therapist, MPT, OCS and Cert MDT, added the following benefits of exercise:
Exercise can delay the onset of Osteo Arthritis.
Maintaining strength in muscles provides joint stability.
Exercise Improves cardiovascular health.
Exercise reduces stiffness in joints as well as the load on the joint.
Jill Stein concluded that arthritis sufferers should find an activity that they can do. Gradually become more active. Make the commitment to exercise and incorporate it into your lifestyle. Be as active as one can each day and listen to your body. Finally, try to have fun.
She suggested Nia, Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates as examples.
Personal note. I suffer from arthritis in both hands. Last year I wrote about it for the blog in a piece on Trace Minerals and Arthritis which you can read here. There is also a photo of the acrylic splint I wore for three years to support and strengthen my hand as well as reduce the pain. Arthritis runs in my family. My brother has had his knee replaced and my late mother suffered with it in her back.