As we all know, our bones are connected through our joints such as the knees, hip, fingers and toes.
Wherever the bones connect is a cartilage, which acts as a protective layer that guarantees our joints bend and rotate seamlessly without pain. However, the cartilage cannot sustain this constant grind by itself. It needs the support of “synovium”, a fine membrane that produces fluid to lubricate and supports the movement of the joints. Over time, the cartilage wears thin along with the synovium which causes an inflammation and results in a case of “osteoarthritis” or “rheumatoid arthritis”.
In the case of osteoarthritis, the cartilage have corroded to the point that bone scrapes on bone. This outcome doesn’t necessarily result from a few years of abuse but from a lifetime of every day stress on the joints. In fact, studies suggest that people over the age of 50 have, to a certain degree, been affected by osteoarthritis on at least one joint. Furthermore, men and women are equally affected by this form of arthritis.
With the condition of rheumatoid arthritis, an impaired synovium is the root of joint problems. Physicians and health experts aren’t quite confident what may cause it but most suspect rheumatoid arthritis is an illness of the immune system aimed at selected tissues throughout the body such as the synovium along the joints.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis starts with red, inflamed, tensed, and painful joints which could then lead to scar tissue forming in the joints and on worst cases, the bones merging together. Women are more prone to this disease while studies show it also affects teenagers.
Exercise as a Prevention Method
To ward off any threat of arthritic pain, exercising is always the best line of defense against it. Low-impact workouts and stretching can help to develop well-built muscles while also retaining the flexibility of the joints. Especially for those over the age of 50, it is important to get off the couch, stop making excuses and start exercising.
Here are a few basic ways to reduce the risk of arthritic pain:
1. Lose Excess Weight
First of all, losing weight is the most significant factor an overweight person could do to prevent against osteoarthritis. Any additional pounds can only add to the strain the knee joints are bearing. To illustrate, if you are 10 pounds overweight, you will be subjecting your knees to 60 pounds per square inch of extra pressure with every step you take. Gradually, that extra pressure can be the key ingredient in grinding down the cartilage in your joints.
Studies has clearly shown that weight reduction can greatly benefit a person in regards to minimizing the chance of developing osteoarthritis by 50%.
2. Muscle stretching
Stretching is one of the best ways to relieve tension on the muscles before any kind of activity. Either by waking up in the morning or before any exercise, it is important to loosen up those muscle tissues to avoid injury and joint pains. For every stretch, try to hold it steady for 15-20 seconds then relax. It is also a good idea to consult your doctor for stretching techniques in areas prone to arthritic pain.
Start a healthy habit of taking long walks at least three times a week. If your workplace is just a few blocks down the road, start out early and walk the distance. Also, when at work, take the stairs and pass on the escalators and elevators. This healthy trait would lead to a an active lifestyle and minimize your chances of osteoarthritis as you grow older.
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