Arthritis is a potentially debilitating illness that affects thousands of people as they get older. Pain and restricted movement are the most wearing symptoms, and there is no cure, unless the patient undergoes some form of joint replacement, if it is even possible for their particular condition. However, recent research carried out by the University of Surrey have released some fascinating new information that offers hope for the future. They have discovered that there is a vital link between osteoarthritis – which is the most commonly suffered form of arthritis – and the metabolism.
What Did They Find?
The study concluded that the sedentary lifestyle is the reason that more and more people are developing this condition. Being sedentary either because you have a desk job and/or then come home and vegetate on the sofa (as we are all prone to do) is thought to put people at a higher risk. This is because the study was able to show that this type of lifestyle changes the metabolism and leads to abnormal production of glucose, and in turn if we do not burn this off with movement, is converted to lactic acid. Lactic acid is hard for the body to break down and dispose of and leads to the inflammation seen in the joint cartilage that we classify as arthritis.
What Can You Do?
The bottom line is that you need to make changes to your diet and exercise routine. In terms of diet there are various things you could do:
Consider lowering the intake of meat. Not only does this make the body work harder to breakdown but, the way meat has to be farmed to meat the demands of the food chain, means an increase in chemicals and hormones delivered to growing animals that you are then consuming.
Increase vegetable intake and non-animal protein sources. Again vegetables are easier for the body to work with, and the minerals and vitamins occurring naturally add to the overall health of the body. If you can choose organic vegetables you are also increasing the benefit. Eating a more vegetarian based diet makes weight loss easier which in turn takes the pressure off joints.
Exercise daily. Not everyone has the time or desire to join a gym, but exercise can be worked into many lifestyles. Walking on pavements is considered a good weight baring exercise that helps to keep bones healthy. Consider walking after work or during your lunch break. Take stairs, not elevators and try and park further away or get off public transport a stop early, so you are getting more chance to walk.
Consider discussing with your employer the merits of standing desks. With small modifications, desks can be made suitable for standing, and this has also been shown to help decrease the risk of ageing conditions. It takes a few weeks to get used to but standing to work is increasing in popularity as it also burns calories and helps strengthen the core muscles.
It seems that arthritis no longer has to be a foregone conclusion as we age. No matter how old you are now, changing your diet and exercise regime seems a good way to ward off arthritis.