It Reduces Pain and Fatigue
When there is pain and fatigue, many people with arthritis
believe that only resting will provide relief. However, a recent
study has shown that, conversely, exercise is essential to relieve
The study was conducted by Leigh F. Callahan, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and involved 346 70-year-old patients with arthritis, who were divided into two groups. One of the groups took one-hour exercise classes, twice a week during eight weeks, while the other one followed the same program by the end of the first group’s period.
The researchers found that, by the sixth week, the exercise group experienced a decrease in pain and fatigue. After eight weeks, participants expressed more strength in the extremities.
About 1.3 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disease of the hands, feet, wrists, knees, elbows, and ankles.
Generally characterized as a “symmetric” disease if the affected joints are on both sides of the body, arthritis may involve other parts of the body, like the skin, heart, blood vessels, and lungs.
The Best Exercise
One of the most common questions asked by patients is “what type of exercise can I do?”
According to the Arthritis Today magazine of the Arthritis Foundation, any type of exercise can be performed.
Although the institution provides different options, based on individual goals, it suggests options to reduce the pain caused by bone and joint damage.
For this purpose, the Arthritis Foundation suggests gentle stretching exercises, like tai chi and yoga, or water exercises such as swimming or aqua gym, especially for the peaks of greatest pain. If you wish to get longer term benefits, you may add strength training.
Although the ideal goal is to perform 150 minutes of exercise per week (50-minute sessions, 3 times a week), at least three 20-minute sessions are enough.
The benefits of physical activity in the prevention and treatment of several diseases have been proven. In the specific case of arthritis, its positive effects can be seen in the short run, because exercise reduces cellular inflammation.
According to a report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, exercise is as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen in the treatment of knee pain.
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