It is estimated that nearly 4 million Canadians, mostly women, suffer from stiff and painful joints caused by arthritis. Independence and autonomy become threatened as ageing individuals afflicted by arthritis deal with debilitating pain and reduced mobility. But here is some good news! An Australian study suggests that we could, in part, prevent these impairments by exercising and staying active. As you age, not only is exercise a great way to keep your heart young and stay in shape, it can also help stave off joint pain and stiffness.
Researchers surveyed close to four thousand women between the ages of 72 and 79 who did not have stiff and painful joints. After three years, they observed that the more the women had exercised, the less likely they were to be suffering from stiff and painful joints. In fact, even the ladies who exercised as little as 75 minutes per week reported less symptoms of arthritis than those who were sedentary. The women who were twice as active, that is at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, had even healthier joints.
The medical community has long been promoting physical exercise for everyone: young and not so young. They recommend ageing individuals remain active to maintain strong bones and muscles, flexibility and healthy body weight. All these elements can help keep arthritis at bay.
This study demonstrates that we need not become exercise maniacs to reap the benefits. In fact, including moderate physical exercise in your daily life will benefit your entire system very quickly. Even if you are no spring chicken, walking, swimming, golfing, playing tennis, doing tai chi or gardening are all great ways to stay active!
We do not know exactly why physical activity is so good for our joints, but if we could put exercise in a pill, it would certainly sell like little hot cakes!