Last updated: May 10, 2008
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For every unneeded pound of body weight, a knee joint, for example, bears an extra three pounds of pressure. "Losing 10 pounds will take 30 pounds off your joints," says Dr. Rubin. "So what people need to understand is that if they're overweight by 50 or 100 pounds, losing 10 or 15 pounds will make a difference."
How to start when it hurts
Not all osteoarthritis sufferers can tolerate much exercise. For many, the onset of the disease has meant cutting back on physical activities.
Here are Dr. Rubin's rules for safe and effective arthritis exercise.
- Look at exercise like a prescription.
- Find a controlled, prescribed time period for appropriate exercise.
- Start with short and gentle exercise routines that may seem minimal at first.
- A journey starts with small steps.
- "Do a little bit, but do it well."
Ultimately Dr. Rubin sees benefits far beyond physiology. "I think people who exercise have increased endorphins, a better self-image, and a sense of accomplishment. The pain is not consuming their life, they don't blame the arthritis. It's a psychological shift from being a pain patient to being a patient or person who happens to have some pain."