Exercise – An effective Rx for joint pain – Harvard

I don’t know how many times I have run across this kind of information, but it never ceases to amaze me – to a large extent – whatever the physical problem –  exercise is often the answer. Eat less; move more; live longer really works. Here is what Harvard has to say about exercise in relation to joint pain.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends:
2.5 hours/wk of moderate intensity exercise.
OR 1.25 hours a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity
Or Some combination of the above – equivalent episodes of at least 10 minutes spread throughout the week. That really isn’t very much when you break it down.


I just love this cat doing chin ups.

Joint pain can rob you of life’s simple pleasures — you may no longer look forward to walking your dog, gardening, or chasing a tennis ball across the court. Even the basics of getting through your day, like getting into the car or carrying laundry to the basement, can become sharp reminders of your limitations.

But the right exercises performed properly can be a long-lasting way to subdue ankle, knee, hip, or shoulder pain. Although it might seem that exercise would aggravate aching joints, this is simply not the case. Exercise can actually help to relieve joint pain in multiple ways:

It increases the strength and flexibility of the muscles and connective tissue surrounding the joints. When thigh muscles are stronger, for example, they can help support the knee, thus relieving some of the pressure on that joint.

Exercise relieves stiffness, which itself can be painful. The body is made to move. When not exercised, the tendons, muscles, and ligaments quickly shorten and tense up. But exercise — and stretching afterward — can help reduce stiffness and preserve or extend your range of motion.

It boosts production of synovial fluid, the lubricant inside the joints. Synovial fluid helps to bring oxygen and nutrients into joints. Thus, exercise helps keep your joints “well-oiled.”

It increases production of natural compounds in the body that help tamp down pain. In other words, without exercise, you are more sensitive to every twinge. With it, you have a measure of natural pain protection.

It helps you keep your weight under control, which can help relieve pressure in weight-bearing joints, such as your hips, knees, and ankles.

If all this isn’t enough, consider the following: exercise also enhances the production of natural chemicals in the brain that help boost your mood. You’ll feel happier — in addition to feeling better.

For more on developing and mastering an exercise plan to combat joint pain, order The Joint Pain Relief Workout, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.



Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, how much exercise, joint pain

5 responses to “Exercise – An effective Rx for joint pain – Harvard

  1. Love this. It seems counter intuitive, but this study (and many like it) bear this out. I used to beg my mum and step dad to move when they complained of aches and pains. They preferred to tell me I was wrong whilst ensconced in their reclining chairs, that they could not get out of without exaggerated moans and the assistance of their arms. Now? My mum is dead at a far too young age and my step dad is in a care home and can barely make it to the bathroom on his own. In fact, he has taken to refusing fluids so that he doesn’t have to use the bathroom as often.

    Why don’t more of us imagine our life at a future date and plan for it? Not just the financial, but the physical? I’m thinking of writing a blog post about that very thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Gail! Thanks for your comment. Very sad, but not surprising about your parents. I don’t want to seem discouraging, but if most people are too lazy (or thoughtless) to eat right and exercise to care for themselves now, it seems unlikely that they will look forward to do it. But maybe you should write it anyway to help the one or two folks who take it to heart.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. I’m just wondering abut tone. I’m very no nonsense. If I have a client that starts “but, but, but’ing” me, I tend to respond by saying: “stop making it so complicated. Just bloody do it.” Believe it or not, I don’t lose clients over this, but writing something is entirely different than coaching in the flesh. I’m afraid my tone will be off putting, but I don’t like sugarcoating the truth. I’m going to ruminate on this.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Always a good choice.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Kallmann.C

    Great post Tony, I thought it was really informative. If you’re interested in healthcare in general, do check out my medical blog at https://medicalessential.wordpress.com


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