Learn About Bodybuilding And Arthritis!

Aches, pains, rest, ibuprofen, ice, stiffness and training around an injury are words that seemingly increase in frequency in a baby boomer's vocabulary. Learn how exercise can benefit arthritis and what the warning signs are of it!

Keeping Your House Of Cards From Tumbling Down
Also, Learn About Bodybuilding And Arthritis

Like every other aspect of human life, maintaining health and fitness is complex effort that requires attention to diet, exercise, and psychological health. Each one of these aspects has a complex of factors that determines its own degree of contribution to the overall life and health of an individual. In other words, maintaining health and fitness over the years is like building and maintaining a house of cards. Pull one of the complex contributors out (for example, don't diet or don't exercise) and the house of health and fitness will fall like a house of cards fall when you pull one of the cards out.

Aches, pains, rest, ibuprofen, ice, stiffness and training around an injury are words that seemingly increase in frequency in a baby boomer's vocabulary. Take time off from training and what happens? Uninjured areas begin to atrophy, and you become sluggish as the endorphin levels drop. Depression sets in and many people begin to overeat. That is, it gets harder and harder to maintain that house of health. The decision to take time off to rest a joint injury can start the process where your house of health comes tumbling down like a house of cards.

If You're over 40 you are more than likely suffering from aches and pains. The aches and pains we experienced in our 20s were mainly from over-training or injury and seemed to heal quickly. The fact is that you may be suffering from arthritis. Currently 42 million people suffer from one of the more than 100 forms of arthritis. Recent studies conducted by the Center for Disease Control estimate that one in three adults suffer from arthritis, which is the number one cause of disability in the United States, at a cost of $125 billion annually according to Dr. Dorothy Dunlop of Northwestern University.

What's to blame for the rise in arthritis rates? Obesity, lack of exercise and the graying of the baby boomer generation. At Legendary Fitness, our goal is to redefine the aging process for the baby boomer generation. We can't turn back the biological clock in years, but we can improve both our longevity and quality of life through exercise, resistance training and sound nutrition. It's time for our legendary generation to invest now to control our future.

In the past, arthritis sufferers were given the message that joints inflamed from arthritis would become more inflamed with exercise. Thankfully, current research keeps our house of cards erect by acknowledging the health benefits of exercise for arthritis sufferers.

Benefits Of Exercise On Arthritis:

  • Movement of joints through full range of motion
  • Stronger muscles and bone cartilage
  • Keeps weight in control
  • Cardio builds a stronger heart
  • Decreases depression
  • Improves self-esteem and sense of well-being.

When forgoing exercise, arthritis sufferers increase the pain levels in their joints and decrease their range of motion. It's the pain and reduction of movement, which causes a debilitating quality of life. In contrast, when practicing a regular program of exercise, stronger muscles are built which support and protect the joints.

Exercise For Arthritis Prevention And Symptom Reduction Should Include:

  • Range of motion exercises to reduce stiffness and keep the joints flexible.
  • Strength training for joint stability.
  • Endurance training for stamina and weight control.

The American college of Rheumatology is recommending range of motion exercises at least every other day, strength training every other day and endurance training of 20-30 minutes, three times per week. The recommendation of training session that last no more than one hour helps avoid situations of overtraining. In turn, the risk of inflamed joints becoming more inflamed is reduced.

In addition, the use of periodization techniques, where lighter weights with higher reps are used during flare-up periods, and heavier weights with lower reps are used during periods when joint inflammation is under control. Legendary Fitness, LLC recommends that all arthritis sufferers check with their personal physicians before undergoing an exercise program and should determine with their physician specific exercises to avoid during periods of joint inflammation.

Richard discussed how executing proper form during resistance training not only stresses the muscles, but also is a venue for movement through the full range of motion in an earlier article. Medical experts recommend the use of free weights, machines, isometrics, resistance bands and water exercise to ward off the effects and reduce the severity of arthritis. Current research, examining the effects of exercise on arthritis reveals that people involved in regular workouts of moderate running have low, if any, risk or osteoarthritis. High intensity, direct impact sports such as football and soccer present higher risk levels of arthritis. And repeated, twisting motions such as those involved in baseball also increase the risk of arthritis.

Strengthening the quadriceps muscle is proving to be beneficial on several levels. Not only are pain levels reduced in the knee joint, but also, strong quadriceps muscles allow for greater levels of independence when arthritis does affect the joints. Next time you want to skip doing squats on leg day; think about having the strength to get around with a walker rather than a wheelchair thirty years from now.

For all of us baby boomer lifters, we are very familiar with the cliché, "use it or lose it." Whether plagued by personal injuries, allowing the aging process to take over and slow us down or witnessing fellow gym members that have slacked off from a regular fitness program, we all understand the importance of movement, using and strengthening our muscles. And these factors grow in importance when painful and often chronic disorders such as one of the 100 or more forms of arthritis affects the joints.

Warning Signs Of Arthritis:

  • Swelling in the joints
  • Stiffness in the joints for more than one hour in the early morning hours
  • Constant or recurring pain in the joints
  • Difficulty using or moving the joint
  • Warmth or redness in a joint

If you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms, please seek out the help of your physician. In addition, become an active and positive force in your own health by eliminating stress on the joints through personal weight control and a regular exercise program.

Train hard, train smart and make it a legendary week!
Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC.
Richard Baldwin, Member. Legendary Physique, LLC.

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Copyright 2004. Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC. All rights reserved.

The advice given in this column should not be viewed as a substitute for professional medical services. Before undertaking any exercise or nutrition program, Legendary Fitness, LLC advises all to undergo a thorough medical examination and get permission from their personal physician.