Does regular exercise help control knee arthritis?
Exercise is crucial for people with knee arthritis. It increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue. But how does movement work in your body to help your knee joints?
- A better range of motion
To increase your range of motion, move a joint as far as it can go and then try to push a little farther. These exercises can be done any time, even when your joints are painful or swollen, as long as you do them gently.
- Blood flow increases.
Exercise gets the heart pumping, which increases blood circulation throughout your body – including your joints. As a result, the synovial membrane is exposed to a steady supply of nourishing oxygen and nutrients.
- Stronger muscles
Fancy equipment isn’t needed. You can use your own body weight as resistance to build muscle. For example, this simple exercise can help ease the strain on your knees by strengthening your thigh muscles: Sit in a chair. Now lean forward and stand up by using only your thigh muscles (use your arms for balance only). Stand a moment, then sit back down, using only your thigh muscles.
- Better endurance
Aerobic exercise — such as walking and swimming— strengthens your heart and lungs and thereby increases endurance and overall health. Stick to activities that don’t jar your joints, and avoid high-impact activities such as jogging. If you’re having a flare-up of symptoms, wait until it subsides before doing endurance exercises.
- Better balance
There are simple ways to work on balance. For example, stand with your weight on both feet. Then try lifting one foot while you balance on the other foot for 5 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Over time, work your way up to 30 seconds on each foot. Yoga and tai chi are also good for balance.