A recent clinical study, funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), has found that elderly people with osteoarthritis of the knee who exercise regularly have less pain, reduced disability, and improved physical performance. The results come as somewhat a surprise, according to Stanley Slater, M.D., deputy associate director of the NIA Geriatrics Program, who stated; “In the past, opinion was divided as to whether exercise or rest was the better treatment for osteoarthritis. This study clearly comes down on the side of exercise”.
Knee Osteoarthritis, marked by the breakdown of joint cartilage that absorbs the shock of simple activities like walking, is the most common cause of disability in the United States, currently affecting more than 10 million elderly Americans. Formed after years of repeated strain and possible injury, the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis include chronic pain, swelling, stiffness, and even permanent loss of mobility.
Specifically, the Fitness Arthritis and Seniors Trial (FAST) results pitted improvement measurements in people who participated in moderate aerobic or resistance exercise training program against those who simply rested. The results showed a modest but consistent improvement in pain relief, disability, and physical performance for those who participated in the aerobic and resistance training programs in comparison to the control group.
It may seem paradoxical that added pressure and impact could help fight degenerative joint disease, but doctors are beginning to see an overall trend correlating exercise to skeletal strength and overall body function. “The findings are significant because they show that exercise over a long period of time is safe as well as beneficial for older people with knee osteoarthritis – they get relief from arthritis symptoms plus all the other health benefits of exercise. We hope the study will be a good model for people with other chronic illnesses and conditions,” says principal investigator Walter H. Ettinger, Jr., M.D., Internal Medicine and Public Health Sciences, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University.
Whether you are suffering from osteoarthritis or want to take preemptive measures to prevent it, exercise has to be continued over a long period of time in order to achieve maximum health benefits. Unfortunately, nationwide surveys show older people have an abnormally high dropout rate from exercise programs. Aside from diligence, the best way to continue your exercise regiment and actualize your desired health results is to be prepared.
Recommended strategies to ensure that you meet your continued goals include setting a specific time each day to work out, follow exercise guidebooks like the Airobic Ball Stretching Book or Airobic Ball Strengthening Book, and watch workout videos and follow the given instructions. Perhaps the most influential strategy to keep you active is actually owning exercise equipment and having it readily available. A few brief workouts a week on the Stamina InTone Jogger, iJoy Exercise Board, or Stamina InStride Plus Electronic Stepper will do wonders for warding off knee pain and improving physical health. These machines incorporate both aerobic exercise and resistant exercise, and are easy to use, safe, and easy to store away when not in use.
Of course, any elderly person looking to begin a workout program should first speak to their doctors to determine if they are healthy enough for exercise. Likewise, due caution is vital when working out, and you should always start at a low level and work your way up. It is highly recommended to use balms or supplements while starting an exercise program to optimize results and reduce soreness. Tiger Balm is a best selling healing balm that alleviates pain from sore muscles and even arthritic joints.
Osteoarthritis can be detrimental to everyday life, limiting many of the activities you want or even need to do. The NIA’s published study is truly groundbreaking, as it takes a new look at easy ways to alleviate osteoarthritis’ chronic symptoms and crippling disabilities.HealthyBack.com offers a range of specialized exercise products – many already mentioned – targeted towards elderly users who want to work their way towards a healthier, pain-free lifestyle void of osteoarthritis.
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