Good Moves for Bad Knees

19 September, 2012

The secret to avoiding knee arthritis: Don't sit on the sidelines. Just ask a group of midlife adults who already had knee problems -- a virtual invitation to osteoarthritis. After doing basic weight-bearing exercises 3 times a week for 4 months, they'd squatted, lunged, and stepped their way to real rewards. The evidence: fewer aches, stronger muscles, and measurably healthier cartilage.

It's no news that challenging muscles and bones with weight work makes them stronger. Now there's evidence that cartilage -- the tough yet flexible tissue found in joints -- also becomes stronger in response to weight-bearing exercise. And healthier cartilage lowers the odds of osteoarthritis.

The exercisers wound up with more glycosaminoglycan (GAG), a key component of cartilage, in their knees. And the more GAG they had, the less pain they experienced -- and the easier it was to move. So if you've avoided even basic exercise classes because of a bum knee, sign up! It could keep that iffy joint comfortable, flexible, and arthritis-free.

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