As gyms begin to reopen, medical experts caution that to keep yourself safe from the coronavirus it's still smarter to exercise outdoors, as far away from other people as possible. But whether you're a regular runner or have taken up cycling during the pandemic, it's important to do all you can to keep your joints as healthy as your muscles.
According to Methodist Health System, about 773,000 Americans have a hip or knee replaced each year in the United States. An estimated 22.7 percent, or 54.4 million, of adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, and African Americans and Hispanics are at higher risk to report work limitations and severe joint pain caused by arthritis than Caucasians.
Arthritis literally means joint inflammation. The term is often used to refer to any of the more than 100 diseases that affect the joints – where two or more bones meet to allow movement.
Methodist has put together a free quiz to help identify if you're at risk for joint damage, and what you can do now to help minimize your chances of developing it.
In the meantime, be aware of these common risk factors:
- Being overweight. Our joints carry the weight of our bodies and the more weight we have to carry, the harder it is for our joints to work properly.
- Not exercising enough. Regular, moderate exercise offers a whole host of benefits to people with arthritis. Exercise reduces joint pain and stiffness, builds strong muscle around the joints, and increases flexibility and endurance.
- Repetitive, heavy lifting. Certain occupations involving repetitive knee bending and squatting are associated with osteoarthritis — or the degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone — of the knee.
Once you take Methodist Health System's free risk assessment, you can opt to receive a personalized report with information about your health, periodic health-related emails, and a free screening and consultation by a certified clinician (only available to higher-risk individuals).