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Want to know how to stay active when living with Osteoarthritis (OA)?

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Are you living with OA and unsure how to stay active?

Have you already tried to exercise but experienced an increase in pain and limitations afterwards?

Many people with chronic conditions such as OA have already tried to exercise and experienced an increase in pain and limitations afterwards. This can result in people “giving up on exercise” because they think it “makes them worse”. Unfortunately this only results in further deterioration in muscle strength, flexibility, balance and overall function.

Subsidised rehabilitation service

TBI Health is running a subsidised rehabilitation service for people that are developing hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA). We are excited to be providing people with the tools to improve the management of their condition, and get them back to doing the activities they love.

Don’t give up!

There is a lot of research showing strong evidence to support the benefits of exercise for OA and all guidelines recommend exercise as one of the most important treatments. Although exercise may not have worked for you in the past, there are many different ways to stay active. And it is important find the best way that works for you, your family, and your life.

Taking regular breaks between activity can help

It is important to understand that your body is changing and you need to make a change in the way you use it to get the best results. The first thing to do is change your expectations. In the past, you could probably stay active all day without any problems – however now you should take regular breaks as your joints need some recovery time in between activities. For example, exercise doesn’t need to be done in a single session. A 30 minute walk for example can be split into three 10 minute walks. Altogether, aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity lifestyle activities throughout the day, on most days of the week.

What exercise options are there?

The best type of exercise programme for someone with OA depends on their overall health, what activities they like to do, which joints are affected, and how badly affected these joints are.

There are numerous options to consider when designing your exercise program in order to ensure you get the best possible results such as:

  • Aquatic (water based) physical therapy.
  • Land based exercise such as strengthening, stretching, walking, and cycling. These types of exercises can be done at home, or in the community.
  • Class-based exercise. Supplementing a home exercise programme with a class-based exercise programme is more effective than home exercise alone.
  • Tai Chi has been shown in patients with arthritis to reduce pain, reduce stiffness, improve balance, and increase overall functional ability.

The other very important benefit of exercise is that it helps you maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese puts extra stress on weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees. Overweight women have nearly four times the risk of developing knee OA compared to a person of normal weight, while overweight men have five times greater the risk.  The great news is that a small decrease in your weight can have a big impact and really help your OA.

Take charge of your OA and stay active

There are so many proven benefits to your health, function and quality of life by maintaining an active lifestyle – you just have to know how.

References:

  • Anderson J, Felson DT: Factors associated with osteoarthritis of the knee in the First National Health and Nutrition Examination (HANES I). Am.J.Epidemiol. 1988;128:179-189
  • Bartlett, S. (c2016). John Hopkins Arthritis Centre. Retrieved 20 July, 2016
  • Yvonne M. Golightly, Kelli D. Allen, and Dennis J. Cain (2012). A Comprehensive Review of the Effectiveness of Different Exercise Programs for Patients with Osteoarthritis. Phys Sportsmed 40(4): 52–65.
  • Abbott JH, Robertson MC, Chapple C, Pinto D, Wright AA, Leon de la Barra S, Baxter GD, Theis J-C, Campbell AJ, for the MOA Trial Team. Manual therapy, exercise therapy, or both, in addition to usual care, for osteoarthritis of the hip or knee: a randomized controlled trial. 1: clinical effectiveness. Osteoarthritis & Cartilage. 2013; 21:525-534. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2012.12.014
  • Zhang W, Moskovitz R, Nuki G et al. “OARSI recommendations for the management of hip and knee osteoarthritis, Part II: OARSI evidence-based, expert consensus guidelines”, Osteoarthritis & Cartilage 2008;16:137-162.
  • Williams NH, Amoakwa E, Burton K et al. “The Hip and Knee Book: developing an active management booklet for hip and knee osteoarthritis”, Br J Gen Pract 2010;60:64-82.
  • Fransen M, McConnell S. Land-based exercise for osteoarthritis of the knee: a metaanalysis of randomized controlled trials. J Rheumatol. 2009 Jun;36(6):1109-17. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.090058. Epub 2009 May 15.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “The Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report