Don't let knee osteoarthritis slow you down. Walking and water exercise can help!

Boost your bone health

It's hard to feel like the "bee's knees" when your joints are aching with osteoarthritis. But for people with early-stage arthritis, finding ways to stay active can help prevent the condition from progressing. In a year-long study of women with mild knee arthritis, those who did the most moderate physical activity — about three hours a week — tended to have healthier cartilage. The women in the study mainly did walking and "Nordic walking" (walking with exercise poles). To further strengthen those hinges, bring on the waterworks. The low-impact nature of aquatic resistance training makes it especially beneficial for people with osteoarthritis of the knee, and recent research shows that it can improve cartilage health and overall physical functioning while reducing body mass index. (Weight loss is one of the best ways to lessen pain for people with knee osteoarthritis.) Talk with your physician or a physical therapist before starting an exercise program if you have osteoarthritis, and be sure to pay close attention to your body's signals. A "no pain, no gain" mentality can backfire, sending you on a downward spiral of increased pain and reduced activity. But easing into a routine that works for you, and sticking with it, can lead to less pain, better overall functioning, and improved mood. Let the upward spiral begin!


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