Let’s do a quick thought experiment. I want you to consider the word “aging” and all that it connotes for you. Now close your eyes and craft a mental picture of “aging.” I’m betting that most of your imaginary paintings are not of the Bob Ross “happy little cloud” variety. It seems most of us regard aging as a slow, inevitable decline in our health and wellness, one that is futile to resist. In particular, chronic conditions of age, such as osteoarthritis, are painful reminders of the degeneration of our bodies in seemingly permanent ways. After all, we are (unfortunately) not starfish; we don’t have magical joint regeneration powers, and cartilage damage is irreversible. What are we to do then, in the face of this osteoarthritis monster lurking under our beds, just waiting for us to sprout that first grey hair? Luckily for us all, researchers believe they have found an effective weapon to keep the bone-boogieman at bay, and it’s one that each of us has the power to employ. You didn’t think this whole post would be one giant Debbie-downer, now, did you? C’mon, you know us better than that! So what is this magic elixir against the creaking, crunching, crippling pain of osteoarthritis? Why, none other than our favorite kind of medicine, here at AlterG, exercise!
Yes, you read that right, the very thing that sounds like the worst idea for osteoarthritis sufferers is actually just what the doctor ordered. Don’t believe me? Think I’m just back from a run and likely under the influence of some major endorphins and thus blindly singing the praises of exercise like some sort of crazed-fitness zealot? Well, you might be correct there. But, would you be inclined to believe Harvard medical doctors? Because the headline of this article from Harvard Health Publications boldly proclaims, “Exercise: Rx for Overcoming Osteoarthritis.” It goes on to state, unequivocally, “if there’s one prescription an individual with osteoarthritis should take every day, it’s exercise. Regular exercise strengthens muscles and improves flexibility and balance. It not only helps ease pain and stiffness but also improves overall health.”
But Jana, you protest, exercise is painful for osteoarthritis patients, and doesn’t pain usually signal that something should not be done? This would seem like common sense thinking, but it turns out the osteoarthritis monster doesn’t like to play by our silly rules of logic. As the folks over at arthritis.org point out, “While you may worry that exercising with osteoarthritis could harm your joints and cause more pain, research shows that people can and should exercise when they have osteoarthritis. Exercise is considered the most effective non-drug treatment for reducing pain and improving movement in osteoarthritis.”
Great, you think, the thing that hurts the most is the thing that I should be doing. Life has a twisted sense of humor sometimes, no? Here at AlterG, however, we aren’t letting life have the last laugh. Our Anti-Gravity Treadmill scoffs at the notion of limited mobility due to osteoarthritis. By gently and precisely unweighting users, the Anti-Gravity Treadmill allows everyone to pinpoint his or her exact “AlterG Score,” or the level of support at which pain vanishes. This score also empowers users to see and feel their progress, as they discover just how impactful regular exercise can be in the fight against osteoarthritis and back toward full function. With AlterG, you can painlessly undertake the 3 main facets of exercise: Range of Motion/Flexibility, Aerobic/Endurance Training, and Strengthening. This trifecta forms your self-made saber with which you can defend yourself against degeneration.
You may be wondering whether AlterG-assisted exercise has ever been tested, specifically, as a method for osteoarthritis relief. Well, aren’t you full of questions today! That’s alright, questions are how we learn. And in the spirit of scholarly curiosity, let me direct your attention towards a recent study entitled Managing Knee Osteoarthritis: The Effects of Body Weight Supported Physical Activity on Joint Pain, Function, and Thigh Muscle Strength. Ok, so that title was a bit of a mouthful, but the takeaway from this comprehensive 31 patient undertaking is that AlterG is a game-changer when it comes to helping those with osteoarthritis reap the rewards of exercise. After just 12 weeks of AlterG moonwalking, “patients reported significant improvements in knee joint pain and function and demonstrated significant increases in thigh muscle strength about the degenerative knee.” Further, the authors of the study concluded through objective measurements and analysis that “Data suggest that an LBPP-supported, low-load exercise regimen can be used to significantly diminish knee pain, enhance joint function, and increase thigh muscle strength, while safely promoting pain-free walking exercise in overweight patients with knee OA.”
These results reinforce our earlier knee OA case study, which details how an 85 year old man with osteoarthritic limitations, including an inability to walk or stand comfortably for more than 10 minutes at a time, was able to regain his range of motion, increase his functional strength, and reclaim his mobility, courtesy of a 6 week regimen of exercise on the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill. It should be noted that an added bonus of his treatment was weight loss, which is another huge benefit that comes with exercise-as-therapy. Shedding excess mass is crucial to relieving undue joint compression and alleviating much of the pain associated with osteoarthritis.
Now that you’ve been let in on the secret superpowers of exercise, it’s time to take action. Make movement your master tool as you seek to reinforce your body’s structural integrity against the chilly gales of life. Find an AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill near you today, and get physical! Don’t let osteoarthritis leave you painting your self-portrait of aging in gloomy sepia tones; with exercise and AlterG, you can take your first steps towards a vibrant future that is full of “happy little clouds.”“Decide where your little footy hills live.”