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Friday, October 22, 2010

Consumer Reports Agrees with Me (generally)

I got an email from Consumer Reports Health today, that included a blurb about knee arthritis. It said exercise helps knee arthritis but the jury is still out on whether it helps hip arthritis. I went to the site to read the whole article and discovered that I have to subscribe to that particular division of Consumer Reports to read it. I had not subscribed before ($19 a year) because it seemed the health advice was similar to what is reported elsewhere.

However, Consumer Reports has no ties to any commercial interest. Along with Best Pills, Worst Pills, then (a division of Public Citizen, an old respected consumer organization), it is a source that can be trusted, as far as it goes. So I went ahead and subscribed today.

In part, the article notes:

Do they work?
Yes. If you have osteoarthritis of the knee, exercise can reduce your pain and disability and help you lead a more normal life. We're not sure how well it works for osteoarthritis of the hip.
Other physical therapies, including applying superficial and deep heat or applying ice, are popular for dealing with osteoarthritis. But there isn't any good evidence that these treatments help, although they might make your joint feel better for a short time.
What are they?
Exercise for osteoarthritis can be either general exercises for your whole body, like walking, swimming or aerobic exercises, or it can be specific exercises for the joint that is troubling you. The best specific exercises for the knee may be those that strengthen the muscle at the front of the thigh.
There are many different exercises that may help your osteoarthritis. You should discuss what might work best for you with your doctor or a physical therapist. An exercise program may include strengthening and stretching exercises.

The article then offers a couple of examples of exercises that help:

Knee exercises
These are strengthening exercises for the muscles at the front of your thighs. In one exercise, you lift your leg straight up in the air. You do 200 of these straight leg-raises a day. Your knee joint doesn't actually move, but you strengthen the muscles that support it.
Resistance exercise
You lie flat and lift your heel straight up until it's 12 inches off the ground. You bend your foot up and down and side to side in a T shape, and you repeat this pattern three times.
Resistance exercise may help your osteoarthritis.
You may then move on to an exercise in which you stand against a wall and slide so your knee is bent to 30 degrees. You hold this for 10 seconds to 15 seconds and repeat three times.
General aerobic exercise
This form of exercise is designed to make you more fit overall. It improves the ability of your heart to pump blood around your body and the ability of your lungs to take in air. It can help you lose weight and feel good about yourself. Aerobic exercise should increase your heart rate (your pulse).

These exercises are similar to (but not identical to) some that I do every day.

The web page includes the evidence, something I am always wanting. I can look up the actual studies and the conclusions.

Lately I have become a little discouraged and have even missed one day of Aqua and part of my evening exercise routine. But I am calling that a break and moving on, fully charged. There is no sense in regretting what I have not done, because it is past. My next goal is to pull together all of the pieces and describe here exactly what my routines include now. At times I forget myself!

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