“For arthritis, exercise helps strengthen the joints, while reducing pain and stiffness," says Jim Sayih. “It also helps with weight management, which is very important because a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that obesity and inactivity can add extra pressure on the joints.”
Arthritis Awareness Month and Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month are observed in May.
Sayih, a personal trainer at 911 CrossFit, says arthritis affects an estimated 40 million Americans annually and 44 million suffer from osteoporosis.
He has a master’s in exercise physiology and sports science and is a certified personal trainer/strength and conditioning specialist, with 20 years of experience in the fitness industry. He is also an adjunct professor teaching wellness and health science at Broward College.
Unlike arthritis, osteoporosis is not painful but it weakens bones, leaving them prone to fractures — most commonly in the hip, spine and wrist.
“The good news is that, like in the case of arthritis, exercise is very effective for osteoporosis also,” Sayih says. “As a matter of fact, the same routine will benefit these two conditions, because people with certain forms of arthritis face a higher risk of osteoporosis, as well. Your trainer will be able to devise a program that’s appropriate for both.”
Some exercises Sayih says will be effective for both conditions are:
• Strength training. “It will not only strengthen the muscles that support and protect joints affected by arthritis, but also fortify bones so they can resist fractures.”
• Weight bearing. “It works your muscles and bones against gravity, so it’s especially good for building and maintaining healthy bones, as well as increasing joint mobility.”
• Flexibility. “Being able to easily move your joints through their full range of motion will lessen pain and prevent injury, which is vital for both arthritis and osteoporosis sufferers.”
• Stability and balance. “Good coordination will prevent fall-related injuries, which can seriously harm people with osteoporosis and arthritis – or anyone, for that matter.”
Sayih recommends that before starting an exercise program, check with your doctor. Start out slowly and gently and always warm up beforehand. With arthritis, don’t do any exercises that hurt. He suggests that to exercise safely and productively, you should work with a fitness coach.
To reach Sayih, call 954-438-4744 or e-mail Jim@911Fitness.com.