Can Exercise Help Treat Arthritis?
Arthritis is a very common health problem and one that affects millions of people all over the world. It can be extremely painful and significantly change your lifestyle and overall health. Arthritis is the major cause of disability and chronic pain in Australia, with 3.85million Australians affected at a cost to our economy of more than $23.9 billion each year in medical care and indirect costs such as loss of earnings and lost production. As the population ages, the number of people with arthritis is growing. According to leading researcher Access Economics, current trends suggest that, by 2050, 7 million Australians will suffer from some form of arthritis. There is a widely held belief that arthritis is simply a consequence of age, the pain of growing old. But it is not a natural part of ageing. In fact 2.4 million of all people suffering from the disease are of working age.
Arthritis is divided into two primary types: Osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear form of arthritis, and Rheumatoid arthritis. They are completely different, even though they appear to be the same with symptoms of joint stiffness, pain, inflammation and swelling. Many people make the mistake of thinking there is nothing they can do about it and resort to a lifetime of anti-inflammatory medication. Having a better understanding as to what your condition is will help identify what action you can take and try to deal with the condition at the root cause instead of treating symptoms.
Osteoarthritis – Degenerative joint disease usually affects the distal joints, or the joints at the end of your fingers and toes, not the middle ones.
Rheumatoid arthritis – is a lot more severe and is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to break itself down. It tends to affect both sides of the body and is associated with joint deformities, especially your hands and fingers. It can be very crippling, and people can die from rheumatoid arthritis! A much more difficult condition to treat but there is still things you can do apart from medication to help relieve the severity.
What Can You Do To Treat This Condition?
Let’s look at the two cases separately as they are a lot different.
There has been countless studies and research that have proved the capability of people as old as 100 years to build muscle through high-intensity resistance training. Strength training is essential for not only preventing arthritic problems but improving overall movement function and avoiding disability. However many people are misinformed and believe that they are too old to go the gym and are even told so by many of the so called experts and relying on glucosamine or anti-inflammatory medication to simply treat their symptoms. I am calling out to people to try out strength training and see what a difference it will make to your life.
As for Rheumatoid arthritis this is a lot more difficult to simply use the strength training approach. Aggressive medications and use of acupuncture and Vitamin D supplements are common for this condition. Exercise can be very difficult to do but not impossible. Gripping weights or cables I have found for people with this condition to be a real problem, and bodyweight exercises even harder.
A very careful and well thought out approach is needed. Yet even with all these limitations the people I have worked with, with this condition who attempt to do what they can, are ALWAYS better than those who do nothing. The one area that both types of arthritis must focus heavily on and requires not much physical ability is ensuring their body gets the best quality Nutrition.
Get Rid Of Sugar & You May Get Rid Of Arthritis!
Firstly you must eliminate sugar and fructose from your food. A diet high in sugar, can present your body with arthritic symptoms. Make no mistake about it. Sugar will make you fat and has been linked to all types of chronic diseases and will eventually cause problems to your joints.
Secondly getting a great source of fats and vitamins is critical.
A diet rich in vegetables and omega 3 Fats will do wonders for your body. Your body needs a certain amount of fat in your diet to absorb the necessary vitamins and minerals. For example Vitamins A, D and K cooperate to protect our soft tissues from calcification, to nourish our bones and teeth, and to provide children with adequate growth. We obtain these nutrients together by consuming organ meats, cod liver oil, fatty fish, grass-fed animal fats, green and orange vegetables, and fermented plant foods. Omega 3 is lacking considerably in modern foods, and can be one of the best treatments you can use and an essential component that your body needs to reduce inflammation. Omega 3 is like mother nature’s anti inflammatory medication! The more pain you have the more important it becomes. I suggest using a good quality omega 3 supplement such as flax meal or krill oil.
I hope this article explains that the benefits of strength training is real, in particular for older adults. Ignoring the dangers of lack of muscle, fructose, sugar and poor omega 3 fats in your diet could be the reason why you are getting the aching joints. Not that you are getting old.