How will Exercise help my Osteoarthritis?
Discovering you have osteoarthritis (OA) can be daunting. Many people become overwhelmed with what may result – pain, reduced walking, difficulty playing with the grandchildren or being unable to play sport – which limit quality of life. Osteoarthritis is a common joint condition, most commonly affecting the hips, knees, spine and hands. Cartilage is a lining that covers bone ends and act as shock absorbers to promote smooth movement. Cartilage thickness can decrease over time and contribute to joint discomfort, reduced activity levels and poor quality of life.
It is important to understand that that no one arthritis case is identical, so tailored programming is needed from an exercise professional. Some opt to rest and avoid using the affected joint, however exercise has shown to be highly effective for alleviating pain and improving movement. With the guidance of an Exercise Physiologist to prescribe appropriate and interesting exercises, you can be assured that you will continue to move through life!
How can Exercise Physiology benefit your osteoarthritis and reduce your pain?
Graded exercise has been shown to improve flexibility, strength, endurance and balance, which can minimize de-conditioning and provide better support of the affected joint. The goal is to make relevant movement pain-free so you can continue your hobbies and daily activities, whether it’s a weekly game of tennis or climbing a flight of stairs with ease. The self-care of your arthritis benefits greatly from a proactive attitude!
What type of exercise should I be doing?
An Accredited Exercise Physiologist is clinically trained to assess and prescribe exercise according to your movement ability, exercise and medical history, other health conditions, and personal goals, working together to create positive lifestyle change. It’s best to choose an activity that you enjoy and can easily complete to encourage adherence and continued pain management. Some valuable exercise options include:
- Strength Training – Different types of load (body weight, weights, bands) apply good stress to our joints which assists in the delivery of nutrients, waste removal and joint lubrication for smooth movement. Strength training is recommended to improve muscle mass and strength, which is useful in evenly distributing the load of daily tasks throughout involved joints.
- Aerobic Training – Whether it’s cycling, swimming or walking with a friend, aerobic exercise increases the muscles ability to use oxygen to fuel movement. With time, daily tasks become less effortful and physical function is boosted. Remember, if you are new to exercise or short on time, your aerobic activity can be spread across your day in smaller blocks.
- Flexibility – Refers to the ability to move your joints through the intended range of motion. Flexibility is an essential ingredient for improving and maintaining joint range of motion and ideal muscle recruitment. Regular stretching can become a part of your daily routine and have you leaping out of bed without discomfort!
Would Beyond suit my needs?
Commencing your exercise journey for OA management is as easy as contacting one of our Beyond clinics to organize a session with our experienced team! Our Exercise Physiology services combines all elements – resistance and aerobic conditioning, stretching and balance training – essential for proactively managing your arthritis, and can be provided in a tailored 1:1 format or small group class. Alternatively, participation in Clinical Pilates is another way to develop a strong and robust core and promote joint health. All classes are tailored to your health and personal goals, provided in a supportive and encouraging environment to help you MOVE THROUGH LIFE!