If you have knee arthritis, should you weight lift?
Knee pain is very common for both men and women, with a combined average of 46% dealing with pain at some point in their life. For those who suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, the pain can be a deterrent to exercise and may lead to weight gain and increased muscle loss. Here’s something you may not know: studies show a decrease in pain and increase in function when weightlifting with arthritis!
If you don’t have arthritis but have knee pain, strength training can help iron out any muscle imbalances. These imbalances can lead to a change in how your knee moves which may be the cause of pain. While there may be numerous causes for knee pain, weight lifting can help improve your function. Weight lifting also helps support joints, improve bone density, and help maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise Type Doesn’t Matter
During studies looking at arthritis and exercise, different styles of workouts were tested to see if one style was better than another. Specifically, they looked at high intensity vs low intensity. The high intensity would be a very heavy weight for fewer repetitions and sets. The low intensity would be much lighter weight for more repetitions and sets. This means that you can select a style that fits your lifestyle and activity preferences and still see benefits!
When performed and progressed properly, you should not see an increase in knee pain with weight lifting. Some studies have even reported a moderate decrease in pain of 35% with exercise! You may need some adjustments to your form or exercise modifications, but that’s where a qualified trainer comes in. Personal trainers have the knowledge to adjust and modify movements to decrease pain and maximize benefit.
Adherence is key
The key with any exercise program is staying consistent with your workouts. Usually, the hardest part is getting started but there are a few tips that can help you stay consistent with your program. First, having an exercise partner can be really helpful. Having an accountability partner is one of the best ways to stay on track!
Second, find an activity that you actually enjoy doing. This one makes all of the difference; if you like exercising, your more likely to do it regularly. Experiment with aquatic exercise, group classes, and recreation leagues to find what inspires you.
Third, hire a qualified personal trainer. They can help make workouts fun, take the stress out of knowing “what to do” at the gym and help you discover exercises you actually like. Committing to an investment in your health with a personal trainer is a great way to start feeling comfortable as you begin working out. It also one of the best ways to stay accountable to your training!
Additional Benefits of Weight Lifting
Not only will you build strength and improve your health, but there are also many other benefits to weight lifting you may not be aware of!
- Increased bone density – having strong bones is crucial as we age to reduce potential bone breaks with a fall
- Weight loss – a nice perk for all of your hard work!
- Improved flexibility – training with weights has been shown to improve your flexibility
- Increase lean muscle mass – one of the three major factors that improve your quality of life
- Improved mood – exercise has been shown to improve energy, mood and decrease depression scores
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out! If you would like to schedule a FREE consultation with me to discuss ways you can exercise pain-free, send me a message here.