April 9th, 2009 Milan
From: The Healing power of exercise by Goldberg M.D. and Elliot M.D.:
Exercise is part of the treatment for inflammatory arthritis.
Rather than being harmful, exercise reduces joint destruction. Importantly, people with rheumatoid arthritis who exercise are able to be more active and have fewer limitations as a result of their joint problem.
By exercise, we do not mean just gentle stretching. The more intense activities resulted in the greatest improvements.
Even when followed for a decade, people with rheumatoid arthritis who exercised did not have more inflamed of damaged joints.
As a person with inflammatory arthritis, when you begin a program of physical activity, you should work on 1. cardiovascular endurance, 2. muscle strength and 3. joint flexibility.
Is it rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is definitely present if you have four or more of these findings:
- Swelling in 3 or more joint areas for at least 6 weeks
- Joint involvement that is similar on both sides of your body
- Involvement of hand joints and wrists for 6 weeks or longer
- More than one hour of joint stiffness when you wake up
- Rheumatoid nodules (bumps along the undersurface of your forearms)
- Positive blood test for rheumatoid factor
- X rays showing thinning of the bone next to an inflamed joint
April 3rd, 2009 Milan
The health and strength of our bones are tied closely to physical activity. When a bone is stressed, it becomes stronger. It is natures way of reinforcing your bones.
To build strong bones and keep them dense, you need to load and stress them with regular exercise.
June 30th, 2008 Milan
Not everyone develops osteoporosis. The following factors influence how likely it is that you will develop osteoporosis:
- Bone mass falls on average approximately 5 % every five years after age 65
- Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, because their bone loss begins earlier and menopause brings on a period of rapid bone loss
- Small-bone, thin women tend to have lover bone density
- Personal and family history of fractures after the age of 50; especially mothers of women
- Caucasian and Asian women are more likely to develop osteoporosis
- Women who are past menopause
- Lack of calcium in your diet – as well as conditions that may interfere with calcium absorption from the intestines
- Inactivity; when bones are at rest, formation stops
- Smokers tend to loose bone faster than nonsmokers
April 22nd, 2008 Milan
If you suffer from stiff or achy joints, don’t do exercises that add stress to those joints. You may experience mild discomfort during exercising, but if the joint pain becomes moderate or severe, you should stop performing the exercise and see a physician before resuming it.
People with rheumatoid arthritis should not exercise during an inflammatory episode in which the joints are painful, swollen, red, or hot.
The following adaptations will help person with arthritis benefit from an exercise program without damage to the joints:
- warm up for longer period of time: 15-20 min. to promote flexibility and range of motion
- use exercises of mild to moderate intensity
- exercises should be performed slowly and with good control
- for aerobic exercises, the intensity depends on joint limitations, fatigue and ability to achieve training heart rate
- include aerobic exercises that keep weight off the affected joints, such as cycling, rowing, swimming, or water exercise
- use proper body mechanics – mainly maintain good posture
- include strength exercises to increase muscle tone and functional strength – increased strength surrounding the joints = joint protection
- strength training should focus on joint mobility and range of motion
- use light weight at a resistance of 40-60% of 1 rep-maximum for 15-20 repetitions in each set
- increase the use of isometric exercise, which increase muscular strength and endurance with no joint movement
- if you experience extreme fatigue at the beginning of a session you should not exercise that day; fatigue is a side effect of arthritis
- expect to feel discomfort and painful joint; if discomfort is greater than normal, discontinue the exercise or eliminate that particular movement from the workout
- follow the 2-hour pain rule, which means that you have overexercised if you experience excess joint pain or greater than normal pain 2 hours after your workout
- respect your own limits and find proper balance between rest and exercise
- water exercise – water supports the body, decreasing weight on the hips, knees, ankles, feet, and spine
- the water temperature for aquatic workouts should be 83 – 88 Fahrenheit; warm water helps relax muscles and decrease joint stiffness
December 26th, 2007 Milan
Here are the myths – and facts about osteoporosis, by Liselle Douyon, M.D.:
Myth: Osteoporosis is a normal part of the aging process.
Fact: While it is completely normal to lose bone density while you age, that does not mean you can’t have good bone strength. Osteoporosis is a disease and can be prevented with proper nourishment, exercise and vitamin supplementation.
Myth: Only women get osteoporosis
Fact: About 2 million men have been diagnosed with osteoporosis in U.S.- that’s a fifth of everyone diagnosed with the disease.
Myth: Only older people need to worry about osteoporosis.
Fact: Building strong bones is something that starts much earlier in life – you’re never too young to begin thinking about building strong bones. Your bones begin building density from infancy through young adulthood and reach their maximum density around age 35. If you do not achieve maximum bone density by this time, you could be at risk.
Myth: Osteoporosis is strictly a hereditary disease.
Fact: Although women who have a family history of the disease have a greater chance of developing osteoporosi, there are several factors that can make you more likely to get it. Certain kidney diseases, vitamin D deficiency, some hormonal diseases such as thyroid disorders and Cushing’s syndrome, treatment with steroids for certain medical conditions and certain types of cancer can be attributed to osteoporosis.
Myth: Osteoporosis cannot be prevented.
Fact: Especially for those who start young, osteoporosis may be prevented. Make sure you have good nutrition, adequate calcium intake, exercise and sufficient vitamin D supplementation.
Weight-bearing exercises are effective for building strong bones. Activities such as walking, jogging, lifting weights and dancing are ideal. However, those who already have osteoporosis should avoid these activities since they could result in a brake or fracture. If you have osteoporosis and wish to continue such exercise, you should first consult your physician.
In addition, it is best to avoid smoking or heavy drinking as they can also increase your chances of developing osteoporosis.
Myth: Only osteoporosis medications can prevent future bone loss.
Fact: Medications alone do not help build bone. Although the FDA has approved certain medications to prevent and treat the disease, they have not been on the market for long and the long-term effects are still unknown.
December 4th, 2007 Milan
Your body contains over two hundred bones, joined by cartilage and ligaments. Together they form your skeleton, the framework that supports and protects your muscles and internal organs.
When you touch your bones through soft skin, they feel as solid and unchanging as rock. But that’s just the outer shell. Underneath, bone tissue is porous and very much alive. Blood vessels run through it and at the center is bone marrow, where blood cells are formed.
Bone is made of calcium and other minerals – that’s why it’s hard. Like muscle, bone tissue constantly repairs and renews itself, though with bone this happens much more slowly. The process is called remodeling.
Remodeling is affected by many factors, but the three most important are:
- Estrogen and other hormones
Osteoblasts, the bone-making cells, are especially responsive to estrogen. So after menopause, when the ovaries produce less, bone formation slows down.
- Calcium supply and demand
Calcium is essential to many of the body’s behind-the-scenes chemical reactions, it’s needed for muscles to contract, to regulate blood pressure, and to control bleeding. If you don’t get enough calcium from your diet, your body is forced to draw on the supply stored in your bones.
Physical impact stimulates bone formation. That’s why walking is a better exercise for bones than swimming: When you float in the water, you barely touch bottom, but when you walk, your feet hit against ground. The tug of muscle against bone works the same way. This is one reason that strength training affects bone density. And the stronger your muscles, the more stimulation they provide.
December 1st, 2007 Milan
People who are physically active are healthier, happier, more productive, and live longer than people who are sedentary. Kate Lorig, R.N., Dr.P.H. in book “The arthritis help book, A tested self-management program for coping with arthritis and fibromyalgia” notes that this is true for everyone, including people with arthritis.
Arthritis is one of the most common reasons people give up or limit physical activities. We know that inactivity causes weakness, stiffness, increased pain, poor endurance, fatigue, and other problems that we used to blame on arthritis.
If you have arthritis, regular exercise and fitness have special benefits above and beyond the general benefits of improved health.
- Strong muscles that do not tire quickly help protect joints by improving stability and absorbing shock
- Good flexibility lessens pain and reduces the risk of sprains and strains
- Maintaining a good weight helps take stress off weight-bearing joints
- Regular exercise that moves the joints improves joint circulation and nutrition, decreases joint swelling, and keeps cartilage and bone healthy
- Higher energy levels, less depression and pain, and greater comfort doing daily activities are other advantages to regular exercise and fitness
By understanding physical fitness and exercise, you’ll be able to improve your health, feel better, and manage your arthritis, too.