I wouldn’t blame you if you think weight lifting makes arthritis worse.
And if you do, it’s not your fault. Especially since some misinformed doctors readily prescribe their patients drugs and rest to treat symptoms.
But now research studies from Great Britain prove that a properly supervised weight lifting program improves physical function and quality of life for arthritis sufferers.
This study dispelled the long-held notion that joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis need rest and protection from movement.
The opposite is true …
Arthritis sufferers need high-intensity weight training.
Data from the scientific and medical communities offers undeniable proof that muscle weakness is a major risk factor in developing arthritis.
In fact, a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association says …
“Your instinct may be to protect your joints by limiting your movements … but motion is lotion.”
The proof keeps poring in, too. The truth is, muscle weakness is a major risk factor in someone developing arthritis.
Muscle is the protector of joints, acting as your body’s shock absorbing system against damage to your cartilage tissue.
Without strong muscles, your cartilage will wear out much sooner than necessary.
When you begin to feel the wear and tear to your cartilage, your body starts sending you warning signs in the form of pain. Pain leads to inactivity in what physical therapists call…
Weakness secondary to pain.
In other words, you have pain … it causes weakness … and you stop activity … which leads to more pain. The cycle is vicious, and seemly unbreakable.
The bad news is that you can’t rebuild cartilage tissue, because it does’t have a healing blood supply like muscles and organs do.
The good news is, you can revive your muscle tissue — it has an abundant blood supply — and you can functionally rebuild much of the shock absorbency to your joints.
Quoting Dr. Miriam Nelson, Ph.D. associate professor and director of the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Tufts University …
“You can beat arthritis with strength training.”
In other words, you beat arthritis by lifting weights.
She even wrote a 320 page book proving it entitled …
Strong Women and Men Beat Arthritis
Her team of researchers took men and women who were “significantly limited” in their ability to do normal things, such as walking, stair climbing,even just sitting and standing, and put them on an exercise program that become increasing more difficult as time went on.
The results were “astonishing,” says Dr. Nelson.
The strength in their legs increased an average of 71%, pain decreased by 43% and physical function improved by 44% … and they even slept more restfully.
- Increased Leg Strength By 71%
- Improved Physical Function By 44%
- Pain Decreased By 43%
Functionally, what happens when you decide to move beyond the fear of joint pain, and towards a more active lifestyle where your muscles do the job of absorbing the shock to your cartilage is that your quality of life skyrockets.
As a perfect example, take Steve Dublin, who has been a client at The Training Spot for the last 13 years. When asked why he started working out at the training spot, he said …
“When I first walked in The Training Spot, I thought, ‘This it was crazy! I can’t do this. I have arthritis everywhere in my body!’ After a while, however, I started feeling better and became much stronger. Now I feel the best I’ve ever felt in 30 years.”
He’s quick to tell you that he’s gotten better results than he ever hoped for.
And when asked what’d he say to someone who is considering training at The Training Spot, he’s happy to tell you …
“You know, it’s not just about longevity, it’s about the quality of your life. I plan on living to be 100 in really good health. And this is the only way to do it. There’s nothing else you can do but exercise. It’s just good for everything. It’s good for your mental state, and it’s good for your body. In other words, it’s good for everything about you. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself and you need to start right now.”
In other words, he’s gotten better results than he ever hoped for, and the reasons are an improved diet and muscle strengthening.
When you consider that the average adult has over 600 muscles in your body, and an average of 206 bones, you can see the importance of muscle protecting your joints.
But here’s where it gets really interesting.
On average, you’ll have over 230 movable and semi-moveable joints in your body.
Only 206 bones … but 230 joints!
That’s a lot of opportunities to become arthritic.
Now, check this out: You have 27 bones in your hands … but NO muscles in your fingers or thumb!
It’s true; there are no muscles in your fingers.
There are muscles in the palms of your hands, but not in your fingers or thumbs themselves.
So how do you protect your extremities from arthritis when there are no muscles to absorb the shock?
It’s simple, really.
You do it just like any other joint … you exercise the muscles responsible for the movement of the joint.
In the case of your fingers and thumb, the muscles responsible for moving them are located in your forearm area.
By strengthening your arms, you’ll increase the tension on the supporting tendons and ligaments, which will, in turn, help provide protection against loose joint capsules.
Listen, strength training is the key:
“If your muscles are weak, you are at an elevated risk for developing osteoarthritis,” says Dr. Nelson.
The less muscle, the more shock that tears away at your cartilage. Dr. Nelson calls this shock, microklutz … the shock that got through to the cartilage.
The point of all this is that lifting weights on a regular basis curbs arthritic pain, gives your joints a break, and allows you to move much better.
But you can’t just walk into a gym and attack the weights like someone who doesn’t suffer with joint pain, either.
There’s a real method to the madness, if reducing your joint pain is your goal.
You have to work in harmony with your body, with your pain, and with your abilities.
When you first start a weightlifting program, we recommend starting off with machines, vs a lot of free weights.
We introduce you to a weight you can easily handle without aggregating your joints, ligaments, or tendons.
Then, over time, you’ll gradually begin to increase your load (the amount of weight you’ll be using) as your body becomes stronger.
And it won’t be long before you’ll start feeling much better, and with far less pain. We want to help you get the same kind of results and relief that Steve has received.