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National Arthritis Awareness Month in May promotes exercise

Posted: April 20, 2010 11:32 a.m.
Updated: April 20, 2010 12:01 p.m.
 
Los Angeles -- May is National Arthritis Awareness Month, the perfect time to take the first step toward better health by making physical activity part of your daily routine, the Arthritis Foundation said today.

For the 46 million adults and nearly 300,000 children with arthritis in the U.S., movement is the best medicine to prevent and limit the impact of arthritis, the nation's most common cause of disability.

Osteoarthritis, or OA, is the most common type of arthritis, and affects more than 27 million Americans. Known as the "wear-and-tear" kind of arthritis, osteoarthritis is a chronic condition characterized by the breakdown of the joint's cartilage. Fortunately, exercise or movement can help reduce OA pain, increase mobility, and lead toward a more active, independent life.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends 30 minutes of daily exercise to help prevent or control arthritis pain. Whether it is swimming, cycling, walking, or other appropriate level of exercise, the more you move, the more you can move. Exercise helps strengthen muscles around joints, thereby providing better joint support and protection as well as enhancing flexibility.

"Physical activity can actually reduce pain naturally and decrease dependence on pain medications," said Patience White, M.D., chief public health officer of the Arthritis Foundation. "Even minor lifestyle changes like taking a 10-minute walk three times a day can reduce the impact of arthritis on a person's daily activities and help to prevent more painful arthritis."

Walking contributes to healthier joints, heart and lungs. In addition, walking can help manage your weight and delay or prevent the onset of arthritis in the knee. In fact, the loss of one pound of weight reduces four pounds of pressure from each knee.

During Arthritis Awareness Month, you can commit to a healthier lifestyle by participating in your local Arthritis Walk to raise awareness and funds for a cure for arthritis.

For more information on the benefits of exercise and diet in preventing or controlling osteoarthritis, visit fightarthritispain.org. You can also find helpful exercise videos and photos on arthritistoday.org.

About National Arthritis Awareness Month
National Arthritis Awareness Month was founded by Presidential Proclamation in 1972, and aims to increase awareness of the prevention and control of arthritis. Arthritis is the nation's most common cause of disability, affecting 46 million adults and nearly 300,000 children, and costs the economy $128 billion every year.

About the Arthritis Foundation
The Arthritis Foundation is the leading national health organization addressing the needs of Americans living with arthritis. Founded in 1948, with headquarters in Atlanta, the Arthritis Foundation has multiple service points located throughout the country, including the Pacific Region, which encompasses Greater California, Hawaii and Nevada.

The Arthritis Foundation is the largest private, not-for-profit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding more than $400 million in research grants since 1948. The foundation helps individuals take control of arthritis by providing public health education; pursuing public policy and legislation; and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis.

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