“ use it or lose it “ is a useful adage to remember for osteoarthritis especially of weight bearing joints.
Weight reduction of 5% in 20 weeks is a worthwhile goal to aspire to with real benefits remembering that for every 1 kgm weight loss there is a 4kgm reduction in pressure on the major weight bearing joints of the leg like the knee.
Regular Exercise reduces pain and maintains or improves joint function. Balance training reduces the likelihood of falls and enhances joint movement.
Active aerobic exercise should be done for 30 mins / day – most days at a level that makes you breathe hard but still able to speak about 7 words at a time. Walking is very easy especially if done as part of a lunch break or part of the daily commuting walking to transport or the car park. 3 x 10 min burst of intense exercise have also been found to be of similar benefit
Strengthening exercises should be done at least 3 x /week involving core strength exercise , quadriceps hamstrings hip abductors and calf muscles. Therabands or light weights are useful. Exercises to consider – standing leg side raises; sit to stand from chair ( no hands); calf raises ( tip toes ); one or two step up and down – facing stairs , side steps – face left and face right, have support rail or bannister next to the step for safety. Straight leg raises and knee straightening when seated.
Flexibility exercises at least 3 x/week for at least the knee and hip as well as the back involving stretches and rotations for 15-30 seconds repeated 3-4 times at least 3 x/week. Quadriceps , hamstrings , hip flexors and abductor stretches
Water based exercise 2 x /week for 30 mins is a valuable addition because of constant resistance, the soothing effect on joints, the improvement Water aerobic or exercise classes are a useful adjunct. Consider walking in above waist height water , swimming , bicycling action , star jumps and lunges also the use of resistance equipment like noodles paddles and kickboards.
Ask your doctor , physiotherapist or trainer for advice.