It is generally believed that osteoarthritis is caused by aging. However, it turns out that this condition is not a sign of aging neither a sign of the bones getting weaker due to poor diet. A recent study suggests that osteoarthritis results from inactivity.
The Commonly Believed Causes of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most widespread form of arthritis, currently affection more than 27 million Americans. It is typically experienced in the neck, lower back, hips, knees, fingers, and toes; although it can affect any joint.
The bones and joints should be supported with cartilage, a cushion which protects the bones and helps the joints bend easily. When a person suffers from osteoarthritis, the cartilage starts to break down and damage the bones, eventually creating the perfect conditions for joint inflammation to occur.
The most common causes of osteoarthritis include joint injuries, aging, obesity, genetic defects in bone cartilage, stress from jobs or sports that involve repetitive movements, and joints that never properly formed.
Osteoarthritis has Doubled in Prevalence Since the Mid-20th Century
Two months ago, postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, Dr. Ian Wallace (and his team), published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. For the aim of his research, they have studied more than 2000 skeletons from three different time periods: early industrial to post-industrial era up to the early 2000s, concluding that knee osteoarthritis has doubled in prevalence since the mid 1900s.
This led the researchers to look at factors like obesity and living longer and see whether or not are they the major culprits for the rise of arthritis. According to Dr. Wallace, they are not! As a matter of fact, he blames the modern-day inactivity for the increase in knee osteoarthritis.
Moving Forward (Without Joint Pain)
Dr.Wallace`s research suggest that there is a way to prevent this condition. Although aging is a natural, uncontrollable process, adding more activity to our daily lives can prevent or delay the progression of osteoarthritis.
So, what do preventative arthritis activities look like?
Starters should consider resistance training and equipment like resistance bands. Equipment of this kind is superior to dumbbells and the exercise itself doesn’t require going to the gym. Resistance bands offer constant tension, which in turn promotes muscle strength and improves balance.
Resistance training improves bone density too, although this benefit is often overlooked. People hit peak bone mass around their 30s before they begin having to worry about maintaining the bone mass they have spent their lives building. The good news is that resistance training is one of the best ways to both build and maintain muscle mass, whether you are under or over the age of 30.
More Tips for Preventing Osteoarthritis
- Go on walks around the neighborhood once daily
- Stay active even if your job requires you to sit for an extended period of time
- Strengthen the muscles surrounding the bones and joints
- Do resistance band exercises at home