When an area of the body is in pain or discomfort many people will naturally try to ease off exercising for fear of making the problem worse. However, stopping regular exercise in order to alleviate pain or to help counteract reduced mobility is actually contradictory to what experts recommend.
For those with hip osteoarthritis, the advice from medical professionals is that exercising is still critical to ensure that the joint is still being used regularly and that the body is not put under other stresses and strains brought on by a reduction in exercise.
Gentle forms of exercise such as walking and swimming are particularly good for those suffering from osteoarthritis. Although strenuous walks, hiking and walks involving steep gradients may not be ideal, short walks on a relatively flat plain that ensure that you are getting out and about and allowing your joints to flex are essential for making sure that the joint is not deteriorate faster than it is already doing.
Walking and hip osteoarthritis
New research commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows some worrying statistics, indicating that many people who are suffering from joint complaints are not walking as much as they should be. Findings show:
- Over half of those with hip osteoarthritis (53%) were not choosing to walk as a form of exercise
- Two thirds (66%) were walking, but for less than the recommended 90 minutes per week
- Just under one quarter (23%) were walking enough to meet the current recommended level of at least 150 minutes per week
According to research published in the Osteoarthritis and Cartilage journal, walking and gentle exercise is actually critical for helping to prevent joint cartilage from deteriorating. The analysis, undertaken by Queen Mary University of London, looked at “the benefits of exercise on the tissues that form our joints and how this is down to tiny hair-like structures called primary cilia found on living cells.”
Researchers found that exercise acted as a natural anti-inflammatory for the joint cartilage, helping counteract some of the deterioration. Exercise actually encourages the production of a protein called HDAC6, which is important for the generation of primary cilia cells.
A greater understanding of how the protein and the cells interact means that experts could develop therapeutic ‘mechano-medicine’ for arthritis patients. This means that the benefits of exercise can be replicated and used as part of a wider treatment programme.
These findings are interesting and important for the development of new treatments for people suffering from joint osteoarthritis. The condition affects many thousands of people in the UK, so the development of new treatments such as this are welcomed by medical professionals looking to find the best way to treat their patients.