Exercise. There are books devoted it, TV shows promoting it and countless articles talking about how important it is for your overall health. It’s even more crucial for people with osteoarthritis of the knee because regular exercise can help reduce pain, make it easier to move and even slow the progression of this chronic condition.
But hearing about exercise will only get you so far; you’ve got to get moving to truly reap the benefits.
Turns out that’s easier said than done, however.
A study from Northwestern University Feinburg School of Medicine (Arthritis & Rheumatism, August 2011) revealed that more than half of women and 40% of men with osteoarthritis of the knee are “inactive” — defined as failing to get any moderate exercise, for more than ten minutes at a time, over a given week by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The study involved 1,111 49- to 84-year-old men and women with knee osteoarthritis who wore pedometer-like devices to measure their exercise levels. The goal was to see how many of the participants met federal physical activity guidelines: at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity (or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity) aerobic exercise per week.
After checking in with participants, study researchers found that some of them had met the guidelines. But a staggering 87% of men and 92% of women had not.
Why are so many osteoarthritis sufferers skipping out on the benefits of exercise?
I don’t have time.
150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise can seem like a lot. However, 150 minutes per week is about 20 minutes of exercise per day.
Try setting aside just that 20 minutes to get started. Whether it’s a quick lunch workout or a class at your local gym, making it a regular part of your schedule will help make exercise an indispensible part of your day.
I don’t know where to start.
Your doctor or a physical therapist can give you ideas and exercises based on your specific needs. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise regime, and be sure to ask about exercises to help strengthen your leg muscles and improve mobility.
You can also watch our 3-Step Knee Exercise Program designed specifically for patients with knee osteoarthritis. Each video features exercises that require little-to-no equipment, with step-by-step instructions led by a physical therapist to help you perform each exercise properly.
I’m worried about doing more harm than good.
It’s a common concern. But “exercise done right shouldn’t be painful,” according to orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. DiNubile.
For instance, low-impact exercises like swimming can be a good place to start because they’re less stressful on your knees and legs. “There may be a little discomfort, but once people know they’re not doing harm, they can usually work through it. Exercise can help build strength and flexibility back into your joints — the end result being improved function and less pain.”
Don’t miss out on the benefits of exercise, especially if you’re feeling osteoarthritis knee pain relief thanks to Synvisc-One® (hylan G-F 20). Regular activity has been proven to help reduce osteoarthritis knee pain. Talk to your doctor about the right exercises for your knees.
PLEASE NOTE: The studies and their findings that are presented in this article are for informational purposes only and are not meant to take the place of the advice of your doctor. By providing you with this information, Sanofi is not endorsing its content nor does it represent that the information is necessarily appropriate for you. You should consult with your doctor before starting any new health or exercise regimen.
“Objective Physical Activity Measurement in the Osteoarthritis Initiative: Are Guidelines Being Met?” Dunlop, Dorothy D., et al. Arthritis & Rheumatism. August 2011, vol. 63, issue 8.
"Factsheet: Physical Activity for Arthritis.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/pa_factsheet.htm. Accessed September 21, 2011.
“The Efficacy of Home Based Progressive Strength Training in Older Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Baker, Kristin R., Nelson, Miriam E., et al. The Journal of Rheumatology. 2001; 28:7.