Numerous factors can play a part in the onslaught of painful arthritis, many of which you can take an active role in modifying. To begin with, regular exercise can have a multitude of health benefits. If you choose not to incorporate daily exercise into your lifestyle, you’re likely to put on weight. Any excess weight puts pressure on weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees – two common sites for arthritis.
“Each pound you gain adds nearly four pounds of stress to your knees and increases pressure on your hips six-fold,” emphasised the charity Arthritis Foundation.
“The extra strain breaks down the cartilage that cushions these joints and that gets worse over time,” it explained.
Excess fat tissue can also contribute to the production of cytokines – proteins that cause inflammation in the body.
Inside of the joints, cytokines destroy tissue by “altering the function of cartilage cells”.
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Thus, the logic follows, the less exercise you do, the more weight you put on, the more inflammatory cytokines can destroy the joints in the body.
In the same vein, the more exercise you do, the less likely you’ll be overweight, and there’ll be less damage to your joints.
As well as keeping joints healthy (by reducing the likelihood of cytokines attacking the area), exercise is the “best treatment for osteoarthritis”.
Exercising for 30 minutes, five times weekly, can help joints “stay limber and strengthens the muscles that support and stabilise your hips and knees”.
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Another benefit of exercising regularly is that it can help to prevent diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition whereby high blood sugar levels can cause lots of health issues.
Arthritis Foundation stated: “High blood sugar levels speed the formation of certain molecules that make cartilage stiffer and more sensitive to mechanical stress.
“Diabetes can also trigger systemic inflammation that leads to cartilage loss.”
A joint injury may increase the risk of osteoarthritis or worsen pre-existing symptoms of the condition.
This hammers the point home that you mustn’t exert yourself too much, and stopping if pain emerges.
“Ultimately, the best defence against any disease, including osteoarthritis, is a healthy lifestyle,” said the charity.
Other factors include a good diet, plenty of exercise, peaceful sleep, and managing stress levels.