Our joint-healthy osteoarthritis exercises will help your joints move more smoothly and increase your range of motion.
More than 100 types of arthritis exist, affecting people of every age, physical condition, and ethnicity. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, about 60 percent of Canadians with arthritis have difficulty participating in recreation or leisure activities, though keeping active is key.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. It affects the joints in the body; particularly the hands and the weight-bearing joints of the hips, knees, feet, and spine. The exact cause of OA is unknown, but what is known is that being overweight and sedentary dramatically increases the risk of getting osteoarthritis, especially in the hips and knees.
The ins and outs of OA
In a healthy joint, the material covering the ends of the bones—cartilage—acts as a buffer and a shock absorber when there is movement in that joint. The ends of the bones are also coated with synovial fluid, which allows each bony end to glide freely. Those plagued with OA have cartilage that is rough and thin, and the synovial fluid is thick and inflamed. Add the two together and you have a joint that is painful, suffers from a loss of mobility, and in severe cases is deformed.
Feed your joints with exercise
The Arthritis Foundation states that losing as little as 11 pounds can cut the risk of developing knee OA by 50 percent for some women, and losing 15 pounds can cut knee pain in half for many of those who are already suffering.
Exercise can also help liquify the synovial fluid, allowing the joints to glide easier, and it also “feeds” your joints. Cartilage—the buffer that protects the ends of bones—depends heavily on joint movement to absorb nutrients and remove waste, which means that for every step that you take you are not only strengthening the muscle and tendons surrounding that joint, you are also helping the cartilage and making it less susceptible to OA.
Try these three range-of-motion exercises daily to help keep your joints healthy and pain-free.
Knee to chest
Forward arm lift
Back leg lift
Exercising with osteoarthritis
If you have severe OA, check with your physiotherapist before you begin an exercise program.