Arthritis is becoming more and more
common -- and not just among the very old.
In conjunction with National
Arthritis Month, the American Council on Exercise (ACE), America's non-profit
fitness advocate, suggests the following ten reasons for arthritis sufferers
to start an exercise program.
"Unfortunately, many arthritis sufferers mistakenly believe that exercise
will worsen their condition," said Dr. Cedric Bryant, chief exercise
physiologist for ACE.
"The reality, however, is that a well-rounded physical
activity program of stretching, strength training and aerobic exercise can
help minimize many of the adverse affects of arthritis and improve overall
1. Flexibility training helps improve range of motion and reduces
stiffness in afflicted joints, particularly the early-morning
stiffness often associated with arthritis.
2. Aerobic exercise, particularly low-impact activities such as
walking, not only improves overall fitness, but also helps reduce
the psychological and emotional pain that often accompanies
3. Strength training exercises help build muscle strength, enhance
joint stability, and improve mobility making easier to perform
activities of daily living.
4. Weight-bearing (e.g., walking) or weight-loading (e.g., strength
training) exercise positively affect bone mass, helping to reduce
the risk of developing osteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease
that is often seen in people with arthritis due to their reduced
levels of physical activity.
5. Arthritis can negatively affect posture, balance and coordination,
all of which may be improved by regular exercise.
6. Excess weight (especially in the form of extra body fat) places
additional strain on the joints so maintaining a healthy body weight
is very important for individuals with arthritis. Along with a
sensible diet, exercise plays a key role in helping individuals
maintain normal body weight levels.
7. Exercise has been shown to help manage stress, which can take its
toll on the whole body, including the joints.
8. Because it is a chronic degenerative disease, people with arthritis
often become depressed and develop a poor self-image. People who
exercise, however, are less likely to be depressed and tend to
possess more positive mental outlooks.
9. Painful joints can make getting a good night's sleep difficult, if
not impossible. Regular exercise has been shown to improve overall
sleep patterns and may help lessen this problem.
10. Because arthritis frequently leads to a more sedentary lifestyle,
individuals with this condition are often at an increased risk of
developing other significant health problems, such as heart disease
Staying active and exercising regularly is an
effective means of not only controlling the affects of arthritis,
but also of minimizing or eliminating the risk of developing a
variety of other lifestyle-related diseases.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America's Authority on Fitness,
is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical
activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness
products and instruction.
As the nation's "workout watchdog," ACE sponsors
university-based exercise science research and testing that targets fitness
products and trends. ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the
world's largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization.
information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE
Web site at www.acefitness.org.