Often the answer to our injuries is to lose weight. This is a common recommendation from doctors, surgeons and specialists but is a hard one to take on board when it is exercise that hurts our joints. The catch to this is that exercise helps to relieve our pain, we just need to understand what exercise is best for us.
Strength training, as well as cardiovascular exercise for weight loss, will both offer pain relief for our joints as well as benefiting our overall health. The good news is you don’t have to run a marathon to decrease your knee pain, there are lots of exercise options available.
In recent research they have indicated that a 10% reduction in body weight will have a 50% reduction in OA symptoms and a 40-50% reduction in pain. Strength and cardiovascular exercise all have strong evidence for reducing pain and symptoms of joint dysfunctions. So what exercise is best when you are in pain? This depends on your area of pain and current health but there are several different types of exercise to help lose weight as well as offload some of your pain.
Walking is a great low impact exercise and is readily available for everyone to participate in. Chose a particular area that is flat and has even surfaces and be aware of wearing appropriate footwear. Swimming is another great low impact exercise for people in pain. The water offloads body weight and allows you to work a lot harder than on land without any pain. Simply doing lap swimming to increase fitness and decrease weight is a great way to start an exercise program or a good combination with your land based exercise.
The AlterG Anti-Gravity treadmill offers patients the benefits of being able to unload the joints and reduce our body weight whilst exercise in a supportive environment. The AlterG is ideal for patients who would like to lose weight but walking on land or a treadmill causes too much pain. The AlterG allows you to reduce the load on your joints and begin a training program, gradually building up to full body weight. This allows people to training at a level that they may ot have been able to at their current weight.
Aside from the above options, there are many ways to lose weight and exercise to reduce your pain. It is essential if you are in this situation to be given the right advice for your particular injury. Seeing an Exercise Physiologist to create an individualized exercise program is the best way to start your exercise journey.