Over and over, we increasingly witness documentation of the lifelong benefits of physical exercise. Experts have even discovered and documented evidence that exercise is helpful in controlling the symptoms of arthritis, a rheumatic disease affecting the body's joints and connective tissues. We once thought exercise was something to be avoided by those with arthritic limbs. Now we know that in the case of rheumatic disease, exercise1:
- Keeps joints from stiffness
- Strengthens muscles supporting the joints
- Improves flexibility for improved balance and fall prevention
- Reduces joint pain and even swelling, especially if heat is applied before exercising and ice is applied after exercising
- Strengthens the tissues of cartilage
- Adds to overall fitness and cardiovascular health and mental wellness
I've personally been won over. Having been diagnosed already at age 55 with arthritis in my feet, in my knees, and in my neck, I have enlisted in a steady weekly routine of stretching and strength-building exercises. I have stopped jogging and turned instead to elliptical machines and rowing. I am bicycling more frequently and longer distances. And as much as I hate it, I have begun to back off of my love of long distance swimming and even substituted the crawl and backstroke, for fear of shoulder injury, with the side stroke and far less gratifying kickboard workouts.
A recent study published in the February 9, 2009 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine spotlights evidence that exercise boosts quality of life in postmenopausal women even without desired weight loss. I find I am vindicated! Even though I haven't lost those extra 10 pounds, I am benefitting from my exercise routine.
The study, conducted at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, found that improved quality of life can be added to the list of exercise benefits and that these improvements are dose dependent and independent of weight loss in the study group of postmenopausal women. Perhaps more importantly, the exercise regimes are deemed easily obtainable and well-tolerated by sedentary women, resulting in confidence that the exercise routines prescribed in this study are not extraordinary and can be achieved by ordinary women living in the community.
That means you, the reader of this blog. Get going!
And don't forget to integrate pelvic floor muscle exercises for your lifelong bladder control and sexual vitality.
NAFC Executive Director
1 Accessed from http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/uvahealth/adult_arthritis/ living.cfm on 20 May 2009.
Published On: May 28, 2009