Studies: Exercise Has (At Least) Two Benefits

Craig Stoltz Health Guide
  • Two fascinating reports today of interest to all people with osteoarthritis (a group that includes your loyal correspondent). Let's step in carefully.


    Bottom Line First


    Exercise that's good for your heart may prevent or delay osteoarthritis. But to retain the benefits of exercise, you have to stick with it.


    Both studies in 50 words or less


    A report in Arthritis Care and Research found a positive link between cardiovascular exercise and improved bone/joint health in adults without arthritis.


    A related study in the same journal found that the benefits of brief arthritis exercise therapy disappear after six months, but are sustained for those who keep exercising.

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    Yes, but. . .


    The first study showed cardiovascular exercise helped prevent/delay arthritis. It's easy to assume the benefit would apply to those who already have arthritis, but this study didn't examine that.


    Both studies looked at arthritis in the knees and/or hips. It's not as clear that the benefits would be body-wide.


    So what are you going to do about it?


    The first study looked at both past and current exercise, and found that one day per week of 20 minutes of moderate exercise (elevated breath and heart rate) had benefits. Still, the more exercise, the greater the benefits. So: Follow the federal government's 20-minutes-nearly-every-day recommendations and you're doing good things for your knees.


    Don't think that a brief arthritis rehab program will deliver lasting benefits. If you want reduction in pain and greater ability to do everyday tasks, you have to continue exercising.


    Learn more


    Our own Dr. Jonathan Krant has a superb SharePost on exercise for osteoarthritis, including all necessary caveats and specifics. The bottom line is recommendations vary based on an individual's disease status, current level of fitness and disability, and many other factors. So: Consult with a physician specializing in exercise for osteoarthritis to set up your program.


    Watch this video about slowing arthritis progression, including the use of exercise.


Published On: October 03, 2007