It can be challenging to sort through so much information about knee osteoarthritis and determine which activities are beneficial and which you should avoid. Luckily, our blog on the do’s and don’ts for knee osteoarthritis (OA) can help you sort it all out. Read more now!
The Value of Physical Activity for Knee OA
Avoiding physical activity is not the solution for those struggling with knee osteoarthritis. Living an active lifestyle has many benefits for overall health but is especially recommended for individuals with knee OA. Exercise helps to increase the range of motion in the joints, improve balance, reduce swelling, and sometimes alleviate pain. Let’s discuss what activities benefit the condition and which you would be wise to avoid.
The Do’s with Knee Osteoarthritis: Low Impact Aerobics
- Cycling – With its repetitive motion, cycling can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee joint and reduce stress on the joint itself. Additionally, it helps increase blood flow to the area, thereby allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach the arthritis site to promote healing. Cycling also allows you to control how fast or how hard you pedal.
- Elliptical Machine – The elliptical machine is one of the best pieces of equipment for knee OA patients. With its low-impact design and full-body involvement, an elliptical workout delivers cardiovascular benefits without putting additional stress on the weakened knee joints. Using an elliptical encourages users to maintain a range of motion, enhancing joint flexibility and strength.
- Swimming – While often considered a recreational activity, swimming can be much more than that. It provides buoyancy and resistance for joint strengthening exercises, and the dynamic movements of swimming can help keep joints healthy and reduce pain. It’s a great way to make movement part of your routine while allowing your knees some much-needed rest!
- Walking – An excellent way to keep healthy, particularly if you’re managing knee osteoarthritis, is by walking. It’s low impact, so it helps safeguard the bones and cartilage which are already struggling. While also offers fantastic benefits, such as strengthening the muscles that support your knees while improving flexibility in your joints. As a bonus, exercise also releases endorphins – those neurotransmitters that make us feel good. So, why not go for a stroll?
The Don’ts with Knee Osteoarthritis: Aim to Avoid
- High-Intensity Exercises – For those with knee osteoarthritis, high-intensity exercises such as sports and deep lunges can exacerbate the condition. High-impact exercise provides extra strain to the affected area and can lead to further deterioration of cartilage; this additional friction between bones often causes inflammation and pain.
- Ignoring Knee Pain – The importance of listening to your body when it comes to knee pain cannot be overstated. Ignoring knee pain can lead to further damage, as the degenerative changes caused by this condition mean that joints can be permanently affected if left untreated. Ignoring pain (or trying to ‘walk off’ a problem) can be detrimental. Consistent discomfort should be addressed with a healthcare professional.
- Lifting Heaving Objects – It’s best to avoid lifting heavy objects, as they can exert extra strain on your already-troubled joints. Not only could this worsen your pain in the short term, but it may also increase the long-term damage to your knees, resulting in more arthritis-related complications.
- Repetitive Motions – It’s essential to avoid certain repetitive motions as those actions can do more harm than good for your joints. Examples of daily repetitive motions that could affect your knee joint include bending, kneeling, and even washing dishes. By putting a little variety in our movements each day, we keep our joints healthy and happy.
Keeping all the benefits and consequences of the exercises above in mind can help you manage your knee OA safely and effectively!
Knee osteoarthritis can be complex, but that doesn’t mean you must let it take over your daily life. Research studies are now available for those in and around the Woodstock area. Visit our website to learn more!