According to the Arthritis Foundation over 27 million people in the US are affected by osteoarthritis. This degenerative joint disease which earlier used to primarily afflict the elderly is now also affecting youth and the middle aged on account of obesity.
Osteoarthritis can affect the knees, hips, hands and feet. Obesity causes increased stress on joints with every extra pound adding the equivalent of four pounds to the knees. Knee osteoarthritis and obesity
Doctors are now recommending exercises to improve flexibility, motion and reduce joint stiffness. Yoga, tai-chi and stretches are good for joint flexibility. Exercise along with weight loss helps to improve joint function, reduce pain and build up muscles. Exercising regularly such as walking for 30 minutes a day doing yoga and tai-shi several times a week will help ease joints. Swimming is a very good aerobic exercise that does not strain the joints and provides full body exercise
Doctors are now recognizing that medication such as NSAIDs alone do not help in relieving pain and can actually cause severe side effects. Free courses have been started in various states to teach arthritis patients on how they can manage osteoarthritis. Patients are taught exercises best suited for their needs. In the beginning even mild exercise can hurt joints but the benefits accumulate over time as muscles supporting the joints get built up and excess weight causing strain on the joints is lost.