An Australian study conducted on middle-aged and older women without a history of stiff and painful joints, suggests that exercising keeps joints flexible and muscles sturdy; it also keeps off weight. It also found older women, mainly in their 70s, who exercised 75 minutes a week reported fewer symptoms of arthritis than those who exercised less, while women who spent as long as 2 1/2 hours exercising weekly had even less pain in the three years that followed.
Interestingly, an article based on a recent study and published in the journal 'Arthritis Research & Therapy', states that exercising even as little as one hour and 15 minutes a week now can make a difference over the next three years.
However, here is a word of caution. AP quotes lead author Kristiann Heesch from the University of Queensland, Australia, as saying, "I don't think the results are suggesting that you should just become this maniac exerciser. What it does suggest is that just adding some walking and moderate activity to your life can make a big benefit."
Experts and scientists believe that as exercise helps in weight loss, the joints are directly benefitted. Also, exercise causes pain-sensing receptors to become less sensitive, so one feels less pain.
Recommended exercises are walking, swimming, yoga, tai chi and even some weight training, subject of course, to doctor's approval.
An aspect that neither the study nor the scientists could find an answer to is why exercise has no effect on arthritis symptoms reported by middle-aged women.
But, with statistics showing one in five American adults having been diagnosed with arthritis, and half of those over age 75 having reporting it, the Australian study certainly suggests that women suffering from arthritis should invest time in exercising to increase their chances of staying pain-free from the disease, which can leave those affected handicapped.