How does exercise help?
All clinical guidelines recommend exercise to manage osteoarthritis (OA). Considerable research shows that exercise benefits people with a wide range of disease severities, including people with severe pain or changes seen on X-ray. Overall, exercise is as effective in relieving symptoms as are pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs. However, exercise is safer and has fewer side effects.
Exercise can help to:
increase muscle strength;
improve the range of joint motion;
prevent de-conditioning (loss of fitness and muscle wasting);
improve physical function; and
Motion is Lotion!
The body and mind love movement and gradually becoming more active is essential for treating and managing chronic pain. Some benefits from exercise include: the joints get nice and lubricated and glide easier; some structures including the nerves and the discs of the spine need movement to get their nutrients and to be healthy; the nervous system winds down promoting relaxation; reduced flare-ups; improves mood and helps with anxiety and depression; increased pain tolerance after exercise, ‘it hurts less’.