Excess weight can put excess stress on knee and hip joints. If you are overweight, shedding a few pounds should be part of your overall approach to preventing and treating OA. You can achieve a healthy weight loss with healthy eating and realistic goals. Many health experts recommend a target of 10% weight loss over a 6-month period.
Talk with your dietitian or doctor for advice on a healthy diet that fits your needs. You can find the Canadian Guidelines for Body Weight Classification in Adults online at www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Even though your joints may be sore and stiff, an exercise program is important to prevent and treat OA. It was once thought that resting the affected joint would reduce the effects of OA. But new research shows that a structured exercise program helps to increase or maintain joint motion, increase the strength and endurance of the surrounding muscles, increase stamina, assist in weight loss, and improve the ability to perform the activities of everyday life. Your exercise program should include range-of-motion, strengthening, and aerobic exercises. These types of exercises can also help prevent OA by strengthening the muscles, which makes the joints more stable and makes onset of OA less likely. Low-impact aerobic exercise activities include walking, cycling, swimming, and other water exercises. Exercising with a group can be fun and help keep you motivated.
See Canada's Physical Activity Guide, online at www.paguide.com. It's an excellent resource to help you plan your exercise program.