(Please note: this article shouldn’t replace advice given by a medical professional)
According to Volkgezondheidenzorg.info, 7.5% of men and 13.1% of women between 40 and 44 had been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2017 and the figures for osteoarthritis (artose in Dutch) are 11.7% of men and 15.6% of women. The NHS website defines arthritis as “a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint.” There are many types of arthritis, however osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common.
The main cause of arthritis is general wear and tear and that is why it is more prevalent in older people. It can also be caused by an injury or infection.
The main goal of arthritis treatment is to reduce the pain. Here are some tips I have found where your lifestyle can have a positive effect on arthritis (and I would say are good tips for everyone):
● Weight loss
● Nutrition – eat more anti inflammatory and antioxidant foods and less processed food
I am picking up on the last one – exercise. Although while in pain I can imagine you want to move less than more, exercise is vital to reduce pain you experience.
One of the most important types of exercise is strength training.The more muscle you have around the joints, the less stress goes through the joints. Strength training helps with bone health and that also influences the joints. Balance work also helps avoid falls that can lead to further joint problems. Studies have shown that strength training can put off or avoid hip surgery.
Aerobic exercise helps with fitness, stamina and cardio health. It is also shown to help reduce pain.
I added running to this list as this is an area that many of my clients are interested in. Running may still be possible, but it is best to get some advice for it and you may have to adapt how you approach it. Running encourages synovial fluid to the joints and this brings with it oxygen and removes waste.
Swimming or water aerobics
Being in warm water helps soothe sore joints, the buoyancy helps support the body, so less stress on the joints, and the resistance gives a good resistance workout without weights.
High Intensity Exercise
A lot of my reading into this subject recommends moderate exercise, however a study from 2015 of 18 women aged 20-49 with arthritis showed no adverse effects and in fact they had less inflammation in their bodies. So it is definitely worth keeping an eye on further advice on this subject.
Not something I have tried, but the slow movement of Tai Chi can improve balance, reduce stress and offers pain relief.
As you can see, exercise is vital for dealing with pain if you have arthritis. It can really improve your quality of life. Even if we don’t have arthritis, it is good to be aware that by exercising we can reduce our chance of pain if we do eventually develop arthritis.
If you need some help with training please take a look at my website.