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When considering exercise options, some people wonder if walking really offers enough health benefits to be worthwhile. Walking can be very useful for both fitness and weight loss, as long as you walk at a moderate pace and get out and walk consistently. Of course, one of the big benefits of walking is that you don\'t need any special equipment other than a good pair of shoes, and you don\'t have to go to a gym. You can take a walk around your neighborhood, on a track, on a treadmill or around your office building. When you begin your exercise plan, consider incorporating some light weight training and stretching into your routines, too, along with the walking. Doing so can increase your muscle strength and range of motion, and both can help you avoid injuries as you increase your activity. Just make sure you use proper techniques during your weight training and stretching exercises. If you have questions about what\'s right for you, talk to your doctor. That\'s important because research shows that even if you exercise the recommended amount per day but spend the rest of the day sitting, you\'re still at higher risk for developing health problems, such as heart disease. Getting up and moving throughout the day is key to better health overall.
Painful knee arthritis is associated with an increased risk of premature death in women, a new study suggests. Women with osteoarthritis-related knee pain - the type associated with normal wear and tear - were nearly twice as likely to die early from any cause, and more than three times as likely to die from heart problems as those without knee pain from arthritis, the British researchers found. "These findings suggest that any self-reported knee pain in osteoarthritis, as opposed to hand pain, seems to be a crucial factor leading to early cardiovascular mortality and is likely to be linked with decreased mobility," said lead author Dr. Stefan Kluzek of the Arthritis Research UK Centre of Excellence for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis at the University of Oxford. There was no increased risk of early death among women with osteoarthritis pain in the hands. Nor did women with X-ray evidence of knee arthritis but no pain have an increased risk of premature death, the study found. Researchers analyzed data from middle-aged British women who were tracked for an average of 22 years. The study is scheduled for presentation Friday at the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases in Milan, Italy. Data and conclusions presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. More research is needed to understand how people adapt to knee pain, and how this leads to cardiovascular impairment," Kluzek said in a news release from the International Osteoporosis Foundation.
Being obese as a child could lead to knee pain and other symptoms in adulthood, especially for males, a new long-term cohort study suggests. The study found that childhood obesity was significantly associated with adult knee pain in men (relative risk [RR] 1.72, 95% CI 1.11-2.69) and that childhood weight and body mass index (BMI) were associated with stiffness and dysfunction, according to Benny Antony, Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia. The study was published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. The Childhood Determinants of Adult Health (CDAH) study was a 20-year follow-up of children who participated in the Australian Schools Health and Fitness Survey (ASHFS). The survey was completed on a nationwide sample of school children ages 7 to 15 years. To assess knee pain, stiffness, and physical dysfunction in the past 30 days, researchers used the Western Ontario McMaster Universities osteoarthritis index (WOMAC). The scale ranges from 0-9 with 0 indicating no complaints and 9 indicating maximum intensity of the complaint.
Knee pain is one of the most common reasons for doctor visits. As you get older, knee pain can limit your mobility and take away your independence. The keys to keeping your knees healthy? Strengthening muscles around the knees, improving balance and losing weight. Let's start with muscle strengthening. Your knee joints bear your weight when you are standing, and that creates a lot of stress on them. That stress is reduced by different muscle groups above the knee that help extend and bend your knee. They also help hold your body weight on a bent knee. Therefore, weakness of these muscles can cause higher levels of stress in the knee joint. Below the knee, the muscles in your calf are important for knee control. They also help propel the body during walking, stair climbing and running. Weakness in these muscles also adds stress to the knee joint. Heel raises can help to strengthen the calf muscles. To do a heel raise, hold on to a counter for balance. Slowly rise up on tiptoes, then lower heels to the floor. Try three sets of 15 repetitions. You will also want to focus on balance to keep your knees healthy. Maintaining balance requires your knees to work with your hips and ankles. This coordination takes practice. Simple exercises, such as standing with one foot right in front of the other, as if you were standing on a tightrope, can help. Weight loss is the important final piece. The force of each pound you carry is magnified by the time it reaches your knees. If you are walking across a flat surface, for example, the force on your knees is equal to 1 1/2 times your body weight. Going uphill, it is two to three times your body weight. Shedding extra weight reduces this force and can help prevent arthritis and injury. It can also reduce existing knee pain. To lose weight, try aerobic activity that doesnot overload the knee. Swimming or walking in a pool, or riding a stationary bike are good options. You are right to ask about nonsurgical options for knee pain - and you are asking at the right time: as your knees are starting to hurt, but probably before they have been badly damaged. By taking action now to protect your knees, you can postpone, or even avoid altogether, the need for knee replacement surgery someday. Surgery can be a godsend, but if you can protect your knees before they reach this stage - and you can - that's even better.
Eating well, combined with a moderate amount of exercise, is the best way to lose weight. Work out wisely and well. We are sharing some of the mantras fitness expert and nutritionist Samreedhi Sharma shared in a chat on rediff.com
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