This is something I am often asked. How much exercise for OA is the right amount?
After all most articles tell you to exercise when you have OA exercise is often the last thing you want to do. After all it hurts and you often suffer for days afterwards as well.
There is a couple of things you must consider.
Do you already have some degeneration?
If you don’t but if you have a family history of OA then take a look at this recent study reported at MedPage Today on exercise for OA. If you have a family history you must be much more careful and this study shows that for OA moderation is the key. Do too much or too little exercise in your lifetime and you will suffer later on.
Although this study was done on knees it will apply to any joint. Too much texting, gaming or computer work will be overuse of the hands for example, leading to an increased risk of OA in the hands, fingers and thumb later.
What if you already have OA but want to exercise?
The most important thing to understand is that exercise for OA is different from exercises for OA.
Exercise is activity: walking, golf, swimming, knitting (yes that is activity for the hands and elbows!) are all exercise. They are important for your overall well being.
Taking some cardiovascular exercise is vital to your general health and should not be stopped on account of the fact you have OA. Obviously of the OA is in a non weight bearing part of your body this is irrelevant anyway but if it is then you should carry on.
If you get sore doing the activity then there are things you can do to prevent getting sore afterwards. For example use a cold pack when you have finished the activity. A packet of frozen peas, wrapped in a tea towel works fine but please don’t leave it on for hours. You are trying to cool the area, not freeze it. How long you leave it on for will depend which joint is affected and you can get details of this technique in the appropriate How to Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally book.
Exercise for OA to Help You Exercise!
That may seem a bit of an odd statement but exercises for OA are targeted specifically at the affected joint. By improving the condition of the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the joint you will allow the joint to work better so you can do more activity style exercise with less pain.
Each Different Type of Exercise for OA Has a Different Affect
1. Stretching will decrease the amount of stiffness you suffer.
2. Strengthening will improve the scaffolding around the joint which will allow you to do more with less pain. It is a good idea to start with isometric strengthening exercises which strengthen the soft tissue without moving the joint. This reduce irritation to the worn cartilage. Then as the joint mechanics work add isotonic exercises which move the joint as well.
By doing each of these different of exercise for OA you will find you can exercise much better. As most of us do activity exercise for fun (including the sedentary activities such as knitting, craft work which remember is exercise for your hand, finger or thumb!) these targeted exercises for OA improve our quality of life as well.
If you do too much of a particular exercise for OA then you will aggravate your condition and feel worse.
If you do too little of a particular exercise for OA you will not affect the soft tissue and make no difference to your condition.
Exercises for OA should:
1. Be designed for someone with OA and not for an athlete for example!
2. Be designed for the amount of OA you have.
3. Be designed for the way your OA affects you. Some people have quite severe OA and only a bit of stiffness in the morning while others with only the beginning of X-ray signs may suffer quite a lot of pain.
How Much Exercise for OA is the Right Amount?
That will not only vary person to person but also day to day for a person. If you are exercising and you start to get pain then stop, rest until the pain goes (preferably putting an ice pack on). Then you will be able to carry on OK and you will suffer less later in the day. It is not a good idea to push through the pain when you are doing activity exercise with OA.
You can either spend hundreds of dollars going to the physical therapist or you can buy How to Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally. For $19.99 you can have a lifetime of therapy and a specifically designed program of exercises for OA.
The bottom line is if you want to do more exercise with OA you have to do exercise for OA.