Osteoarthritis (OA) is a leading cause of pain and disability in Australia, with 1 in 3 Australians over the age of 75 having the condition and is widely understood to be the result of changes within the joints. However, there is strong evidence to suggest that OA is a changeable ‘whole person condition’ that may be influenced by many physical, lifestyle and psychological factors.
For example, lack of exercise and/or physical activity, poor pacing of activity (i.e. doing too much too soon), poor sleep habits, excessive alcohol, smoking and/or other health conditions can impact OA.
Psychological factors such a negative beliefs about pain and OA, fear of pain, fear of movement and activity, or emotional factors such as stress, anxiety, depression and anger, are also all factors that may impact upon your condition.
Benefits of exercise for Osteoarthritis
Getting active can reduce pain, reduce disability and improve function for those with OA, not to mention improve outcomes for other chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and depression. A few different types of exercises that may be helpful include:
These exercises will strengthen some of the muscles around the hips and knees which can often help you perform everyday tasks with greater ease. These muscles are often weaker in those who suffer from hip and/or knee OA. Exercises such as step ups, squats, and chair stands are all good exercises.
Exercises such as walking, cycling, swimming or anything else that is continuous and increases your heart rate is helpful, and should be a part of any plan for those with OA.
These include anything else that you enjoy! If there is another form of physical activity, such as water exercise, dancing or Tai Chi, then go for it. The best exercise is the one that you are going to do.
If you or a loved one are suffering from OA, then contact our Wellness Centre to find out more information on how we can assist and improve your health and wellbeing.