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Walk Away From Arthritis!


"People with arthritis should 'get up and get fit' – and overcome their fear that exercise will make their condition worse". That's the advice from the 'Arthritis Research Campaign'.

It may be the last thing you want to do but, if you don't you will probably suffer more problems and sooner. The charity is encouraging people with arthritis to stay active and keep their joints as mobile as possible because it will reduce pain, and improve their self-confidence and esteem.

"The message is very clear – exercise is the best thing you can do if you have arthritis, and keeping as active and fit as you can will only do you good and will not damage the joints," said Dr Mike Hurley, a physiotherapist at King's College, London.

"When we are in pain, our natural reaction is not to want to move, but if we don't, not only do our joints get more stiff and more painful, but after a short time, our muscles start to weaken.

"It's a myth that people will wear down their joints by walking on them. People are doing themselves the greatest damage by sitting in a chair and doing nothing."

There is an urgent need to keep more people active. Many people are suffering needlessly in a vain and false effort to avoid the pain. Ironically they are actually making things worse.

Exercise is important for healthy joints. Moving your joints daily helps keep them fully mobile.

Strengthening the surrounding muscles helps support the joints. Also, joint movement transports nutrients and waste products to and from the cartilage, the material which protects and cushions the ends of the bones.

"Exercise is within everyone's capabilities; people don't need to buy expensive equipment if they don't want to. For example, just walking a bit further than you normally do, and increasing the distance gradually, will help," added Dr Hurley. "The key is to find something you enjoy, and then do it regularly."

Walking can be an excellent exercise choice because it is low-impact and it helps build muscle strength and maintains joint flexibility, aids in bone health and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

The side-effects of better heart and lung function, as well as reduced weight and blood pressure all make it well worth the effort. And you actually feel better mentally too.

Courtesy of Stephen Bloor, Musculo-skeletal Podiatrist at the 'Runright Stepfree Clinic'.