The Powerful Prescription of Strength Training for Osteoarthritis. Is Strength training the answer to improving your Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common degenerative joint condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterised by the breakdown of cartilage, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. While medications and physical therapy are often recommended for managing osteoarthritis symptoms, there is growing evidence to support the integration of strength training as an effective management approach. In this blog post, we will explore the numerous benefits of strength training for individuals with osteoarthritis, backed by scientific references.
One of the key benefits of strength training for osteoarthritis is improved joint stability. Strengthening the muscles around the affected joints, such as the knees or hips, helps to provide better support and protection to the joint structures. Research has shown that targeted resistance exercises can increase muscle strength and enhance joint stability, reducing pain and improving overall joint function .
Chronic pain is a hallmark symptom of osteoarthritis, often leading to a significant decline in quality of life. Strength training has been found to be effective in reducing pain associated with OA. Regular exercise, including resistance training, stimulates the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, providing natural pain relief. Additionally, stronger muscles can help to offload the joint, reducing stress and strain on the affected area .
Muscle weakness is a common problem for individuals with osteoarthritis due to reduced physical activity and pain-induced disuse. Strength training helps to reverse this trend by increasing muscle strength and functionality. Resistance exercises promote muscle hypertrophy, leading to improved muscle mass, power, and endurance. Stronger muscles enable better joint support, increased mobility, and enhanced overall physical performance .
Osteoarthritis often limits joint flexibility and range of motion, making daily activities challenging. However, incorporating strength training into an OA management plan can help improve these limitations. Stretching exercises combined with resistance training can increase joint flexibility, reducing stiffness and allowing for a broader range of motion. This, in turn, enhances joint function and facilitates easier movement .
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for managing osteoarthritis symptoms, as excess weight places additional stress on the affected joints. Strength training, along with a well-balanced diet, can contribute to weight management and even weight loss. Resistance exercises increase muscle mass, which leads to an increase in resting metabolic rate. This means that the body burns more calories even at rest, aiding in weight control and reducing the load on joints .
Strength training has emerged as a powerful tool in managing the symptoms and improving the overall quality of life for individuals with osteoarthritis. From increased joint stability and pain relief to improved muscle strength and flexibility, the benefits of strength training are numerous and well-supported by scientific research. If you have osteoarthritis, consult with a medical professional or work with exercise specialists like us at Strength House personal training in the City of London, to develop a safe and personalised strength training program that suits your specific needs.
1. Piva, S. R., Susko, A. M., Khoja, S. S., Josbeno, D. A., Fitzgerald, G. K., & Toledo, F. G. (2013). Links between osteoarthritis and diabetes: implications for management from a physical activity perspective. Clinical Geriatric Medicine, 29(1), 97-116.
2. Fransen, M., McConnell, S., Harmer, A. R., Van der Esch, M., Simic, M., & Benn