Joint pain due to arthritis often leads to a decline in activity, but doctors stress that it’s important that you keep physically active. Physical activity helps people with arthritis reduce pain and increase range of motion. How does exercise help joints? Here is a break down and ideas for how you can get started moving toward better joint health.
Lubricates the joint
Your joints are a marvel of engineering, designed to maintain their lubrication. The joint is surrounded by soft tissue called the synovial membrane, which produces a fluid that acts like oil in an engine. When you move your joints, these fluids splash over the parts of the joint not reached by blood vessels that supply nutrition and lubrication, allowing the bones to glide over each other. To reap the benefits of this, try an exercise that encourages gentle movement for the entire body such as Tai Chi. Tai chi is self-paced system of movements and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.
Increases blood flow
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. Getting the heart pumping can also help you lose weight. Losing as little as 5 pounds can help decrease the symptoms, especially in large joints, such as the hips and knees. Try cycling. It boosts circulations throughout the lower body and helps fortify the connective tissues and muscles around the joints.
The weight that bears down on your joints when you exercise forces water molecules out of the cartilage like a sponge. When the weight is lifted, the water molecules return, bringing oxygen and nutrients the joints need. Lifting weights or resistance training offers numerous benefits to help this process. It can be done with proper preparation and without extensive equipment by incorporating everyday items.
Activates Joint-repair genes
Scientists aren’t entirely clear about how genes play a role in joint repair, but research shows that joint movement activates genes associated with rebuilding cartilage. Overdoing exercise can have the opposite effect, though, so listen to your body. The key is low-impact exercises that are easy on the joints to get the body moving and to increase flexibility and range of motion.
Exercise strengthens the muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding the joints. When these tissues are strong, they act like a brace to protect the joint and lessen pressure on weakened joints. Try Pilates. It is geared toward stretching and strengthening in the center of the body – encompassing the abdomen, lower and upper back, hips, buttocks, and inner thighs. Movement in Pilates begins from the center and move outward to the limbs.
Removes Cellular waste
Lastly, exercise triggers a biological process called autophagy, where damaged cells in the joint are broken down and removed. With efficient autophagy your body’s internal cleaning mechanism your stem cells retain the ability to maintain and repair your tissues.
It’s important to warm the joints up before any activity and check with your Florida Pain Medicine pain care specialist before you begin any new exercise routine. Our pain specialist at Florida Pain Medicine can address your individual needs to help you get and keep moving. Contact us today and begin to improve your quality of life.