Managing Arthritis and Weight Loss


Lose Weight and Reduce Discomfort Caused by Osteoarthritis

Arthritis and Weight LossCarrying around extra pounds places additional stress on your joints. If you suffer have osteoarthritis (OA), those extra pounds may be causing you to suffer from increased joint pain.

The pressure placed on your joints can also increase the rate by which joint destruction occurs, which can result in a loss of function and independence at an earlier age than it would had if you maintained a healthy weight. If you need joint replacement surgery in the future, or if you have already had a joint replaced, future surgery may be needed sooner than if you maintain healthy weight.

Maintaining the health of your joints requires you to balance rest and exercise carefully. When you are overweight, you may be less inclined to be active and stiffness in your joints may increase. Losing weight and protecting your bones will not only reduce arthritic pain, it will increase your level of energy, boost your self-esteem, and help you sleep well at night. Your zest for living will increase and your risk for developing serious illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease, will decrease.

Healthy Weight Loss

Let’s take a look at some ways you can achieve a healthy weight and relieve symptoms of OA. Contrary to the multitude of commercials on television, there is no secret to losing weight — you must burn more calories than you take in.

For most people, a healthy rate of weight loss is one to two pounds per week. You can lose weight by reducing the number of calories you consume or by exercising more; however the healthiest and most efficient way to lose weight is to do both.

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While you should check with your health care provider for specific dietary recommendations before beginning a diet and exercise program, here are some tips that will aid your ability to achieve a healthy weight.

When you exercise, you burn calories at a faster rate than you do when you are sedentary and the increased rate of calorie burning lasts for hours after you stop exercising. An immediate effect of exercise is that it reduces your appetite.

Over time, as you build more muscle, your ability to lose weight increases further. Your body becomes more efficient at burning fat calories.

Find the Right Exercise Program for You

A healthy exercise program increases flexibility, burns calories and increases strength. Yoga, swimming, and walking are excellent types of movement if you have OA, as they don’t jar your joints.

Swimming and walking provide excellent aerobic opportunities. Yoga may or may not offer that benefit, depending upon how vigorous it is, but is particularly helpful for aiding flexibility and building strength.

Yoga, swimming, and walking are just a few of the many exercises you can do to burn calories, increase strength, and keep your joints flexible. Find activities you enjoy, like gardening, dancing, rowing, or other forms of movement.

Start slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workout. The key is to find an activity you enjoy so you will stick with it. Consider whether you prefer to exercise alone or with others, and try to exercise at the same time each day. Over time, exercise will become a simple part of your daily routine.

Next page: how your diet can help your arthritis symptoms.

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