05 May 2014

Arthritis Awareness Month: Relief Via Diet & Exercise?

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Arthritis is a common ailment for Rockaway Care Center residents, and it’s not only for those in their golden years. Arthritis can strike anyone, and therefore can be prevalent for residents seeking recovery for any ailment, no matter the stage of life.

Whether rheumatic arthritis or osteoarthritis, the cause of the pain is the same: Inflammation.

May is Arthritis Awareness Month. It’s a good choice of a month given the return of abounding sunlight and the desire to get outside, since warmth and movement can serve arthritis well.  Other relief methods include professional assistance from chiropractic, osteopathic, acupuncture, or physical therapy; assistive devices such as canes, braces or inserts; and topical creams. There are also several medications available for help with arthritis, however many have unpleasant side effects.

But did you know? The main ways to cope with and even prevent many health issues also apply to arthritis. Which ways are these? Well, you’ve heard it countless times by now – diet and exercise, of course! It’s that simple.

Here are top ways to try to alleviate arthritis symptoms via lifestyle changes in diet and exercise.

  1. Stay off wheat. Many arthritis sufferers report that going wheat-free does the trick for reducing painful joint inflammation. Yes, this means eliminating bread, pasta, cake, and the like. Even the organic, whole wheat variety is no good for allergies because the wheat we eat today isn’t the wheat we ate a few decades ago – it’s grown and processed differently, leaving us with a nutritional windfall. How will you be full if you don’t have bread? Try substituting with non-wheat starches such as rice or potatoes. Be sure to wean yourself off of wheat slowly though – most people are so used to eating wheat that they need a “withdrawal” period.
  2. Be leery of sugar. The body deals with inflammation much better if it doesn’t have processed sugars to deal with as well. While you don’t have to say goodbye to chocolate forever, if you cut down the sugar to a minimum, you’ll be able to feel whether this change makes a difference for your arthritis.
  3. Tailor your exercise regimen.While “no pain, no gain” is passé even for the healthiest exerciser, the slogan for sure is out of the question for those with arthritic pain. The goal is to exercise in ways which will not be painful for you. Start slowly and gently, building up your joints so that they can handle the exercise. The key is to stick with it – daily movement which works your heart and your muscles will benefit you overall, in turn reducing inflammation.
  4. Slowly increase your exercise time and impact. Continually perform exercises which feel good on your joints – daily. In good time, incrementally up your level of exercise, in turn burning more calories and strengthening the cardiovascular system.

Diet and exercise can lower arthritis’s impact on your body. By eliminating wheat and lowering sugar intake, while increasing your level of comfort and volume of exercise, you will likely find relief for your arthritis. Be sure to join the Rockaway Care Center exercise classes, and make the best choices in the cafeteria. And as a consequence of changing diet and exercise regimens, you might end up benefiting from an additional method of joint pain relief: Weight loss.

The above are suggestions to take into consideration and do not constitute medical advice. 


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