Community Blog

Exercise Tips for Those with Osteoarthritis

By Denise Roskamp

Senior Care in Framingham MA

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis in those over 65 years of age. It is so common that one in two adults will develop osteoarthritis of the knee. This type of arthritis occurs when the tissue between joints, known as cartilage, breaks down. This ultimately leads to spurs, bony growths along the joint that form as the bones try to stabilize the damaged joint. At some point, the damage may be so severe that bone is rubbing against bone instead of cartilage. The pain and inflammation associated with this disease can become progressively worse if damage to the joints is not halted.

Choices and Fear

Because of the pain associated with this disease, many are fearful of exercise, thinking that it will only increase joint stiffness and tenderness. On the contrary, exercise has been shown to improve movement and reduce pain. If your parent is hesitant, consider making an appointment with a physical therapist who can go through a prescribed exercise routine best suited for their needs. If joint pain is keeping them from walking or from the gym, suggest exercises that are easier on the joints. As with any exercise routine, it is important to check with the senior's primary caregiver before starting any new regimen.

Water Aerobics

Also known as water therapy, this type of exercise takes much of the weight off painful joints. One study suggested as much as 50 percent of the body is supported in waist-deep water. Exercises in the water include stretching, strengthening, aerobics and ai chi, or tai chi that takes place in the water.

Tai Chi

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that consists of gentle, graceful movements that flow from one into the other. It promotes balance and strength as well as relaxation. Due to its increasing popularity, it is now offered at many senor community centers across the country.

Not only is exercise good for the joints, it is good for weight loss as well. Excessive weight is one of the main risk factors associated with this disease. For every one pound of weight gain, three pounds of pressure are applied to the knees. In addition to adopting an exercise program, maintaining a health-conscious diet is beneficial in reducing both inflammation and extra weight.

Home Care Provider

A home care provider can provide transportation and support. They can accompany your parent to the physical therapist or first few classes of water aerobics if they have never been a joiner and find it awkward. They can prepare healthy meals that promote the ideal weight and joint health. They offer support and can assist with the daily activities of living, giving you the time you need to develop an exercise routine for yourself and lead a balanced life.

Resources
http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/osteoarthritis/what-is-osteoarthritis.php
http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/benefits/osteoarthritis-exercise.php
http://www.arthritis-health.com/treatment/exercise/water-therapy-osteoarthritis

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN FRAMINGHAM, MA, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS TODAY. CALL NOW (508) 545-0164.