Being overweight or obese puts you at risk for developing knee problems, such as arthritis, that can make weight loss difficult. In fact, several studies have shown that losing weight decreases pain, improves function and increases mobility in people with knee osteoarthritis.
Losing weight can relieve joint pain, by reducing the pressure on your knees. Exercise helps ease arthritis pain and stiffness.
Why exercise is vital
Exercise isn’t just important for overall health and well-being. It can help you control your weight, manage stress, increase flexibility, improve your body composition and boost bone strength. It’s also an effective way to reduce symptoms caused by arthritis, such as pain and stiffness in joints. Exercise can improve strength, mobility and balance, which may help you reduce injury risk.
Try moderate aerobic exercise like walking, swimming, or riding an elliptical machine at least three days a week. This will increase your strength, flexibility and endurance. Try to work up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Even if that’s not possible right now, small bouts of exercise throughout the day will add up. This will keep joints in motion and strengthen muscles around affected joints.
Make sure to talk with your doctor first before starting a program of exercise. Your doctor may suggest certain types of exercises for you, which might include range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises, aerobic exercise and other activities.
These exercises help relieve stiffness and increase your ability to move your joints through their full range of motion. Find out which type of exercise will work best for you by working with your doctor.
Strengthening exercises help you build strong muscles that support and protect your joints. Weight training is an example of a strengthening exercise that can help you maintain or increase muscle strength.
Aerobic or endurance exercises can improve your cardiovascular health, help you control your weight and give you more stamina and energy. Examples of low-impact aerobic exercises that are easier on your joints include walking, bicycling, swimming and using an elliptical machine.
Daily activities like mowing the lawn, raking leaves, walking the stairs and walking the dog count as activity too.
Tips to protect your joints
To stay active, keep the impact low by using stationary bicycles, elliptical trainers, or exercise in water. Apply heat and warm compresses to your joints before you work out so you don’t experience pain during or after your workout.
Move slowly to warm up your muscles and joints before starting out with more intense activity. If you start feeling pain, take a break. Try shortening the length of time you spend exercising until it’s easy again.
To help relieve your joint swelling and discomfort, apply ice to the swollen area for up to 20 minutes as needed after activity.
What is the fastest way to reduce inflammation in the joints?
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and stiffness, which can help reduce joint pain.
If you are on a plant-based diet, choose plant-based omega-3 sources such as ground flax, flaxseed oil and walnuts.
Or use a supplement— these include Omega 3 fatty acids (Krill oil, fish oil), collagen, chondroitin, MSM, glucosamine, and other anti-inflammatory ingredients (turmeric, curcumin).
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, Soft Gels – High-Potency Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplement with EPA & DHA
Omega 3 Fish Oil – High EPA 1200mg + DHA 900mg Triple Strength Burpless Softgels
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C
Externally, applying a pain gel can offer pain relief for aching joints.
Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel for Powerful Topical Arthritis Pain Relief, No Prescription Needed
Boiron Arnicare Gel for Soothing Relief of Joint Pain, Muscle Pain, Muscle Soreness, and Swelling from Bruises or Injury
Your food matters too – evidence suggest that an anti-inflammatory diet can benefit your joints.