Natural health

Study Discounts Myth that Exercise Causes Wear and Tear on Joints

Vol. 13 Issue 42

Numerous myths about exercise have been dismissed in recent years as more and more research is done on how the body benefits from a good workout.

For instance, there used to be a belief that an athlete should avoid water intake during training as drinking it would cause cramps. Fortunately, we now know that it is very necessary and beneficial to take in fluids while exercising and competing in sports.

Some formerly believed that exercise would cause heart failure. Fortunately, again we now know that the right amount of exercise strengthens the heart muscle and helps to enhance bone mass while strengthening all of the muscles.

There is another myth that has been recently debunked by the latest research. It is that exercise will wear out a person’s joints and leads to the onset of osteoarthritis.

A team of researchers from Boston, Massachusetts, and Ainring, Germany, have determined that there is no good evidence to support the belief that exercise will cause a deterioration of normal joints during regular exercise. The findings of the group were made through a review of existing literature and published in the Journal of Anatomy.

“We found that in elite athletes where there was more likelihood of obtaining sports injuries, there was an increased risk of OA (osteoarthritis) in the damaged joints, but in most people vigorous, low impact exercise is beneficial for both its physical and mental benefits,” said study leader David Hunter, M.D. of New England Baptist Hospital.

This is very good news for the normal person who wants to exercise and get a good workout by walking or running whether in the outdoor environment or on a piece of aerobic exercise equipment. Individuals who have not engaged in activities where injury to a joint might have occurred are very unlikely to hurt or wear out their joints even during prolonged and vigorous exercise.

As the popularity of exercise continues to increase throughout the world, people can look forward to achieving the benefits of weight control, management of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and in improving their mental outlook on life.

One item the research team did point out that could be a factor in knee OA, in particular, could be the issue of weight. “The largest modifiable factor for knee OA is body weight, such that each additional kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body mass increases the compressive load over the knee by roughly 4 kg (8.8 pounds).”

A person who has sports injuries, is overweight or needs advice on how to maximize the benefits of an exercise program would do well to consult a natural healthcare professional. A physical treatment may help put a strained or injured body part in a better position to start exercise. A diet adjustment for an overweight person along with suggestions to exercise through biking or swimming to reduce the strain on the body may be forthcoming. A consultation with a chiropractor or acupuncturist on these matters may lead to a life-long exercise program that strengthens the body, improves the mind and leads to better health.

Source: Science Daily. “Exercise No Danger for Joints: Non-Elite Level Activity Does Not Increase risk of Osteoarthritis, Review Suggests.” January 2009.