If you’re one of the more than 30 million Americans who suffer from osteoarthritis1, you probably already know that maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important steps you can take to manage your condition.2 Carrying excess weight not only adds to the pain so common to this chronic degenerative joint disease, but can also cause further joint damage.2
And if you don’t have osteoarthritis, losing weight now could help keep you from developing it in the future. According to the American College of Rheumatology, you can reduce the chance of developing osteoarthritis of the knee—one of the most common forms—by up to 50 percent for every 10 pounds you lose over 10 years.3
But staying at a healthy weight—or losing weight if you are overweight—isn’t the only way to help you stay in top form. Read on for four other tips to help you live a vibrant, healthy life with osteoarthritis.
Tip #1: Get Moving
Although the thought of moving your joints when you’re in pain may not sound appealing, it’s important to undertake a regular exercise routine, as staying active can not only help reduce pain, but improve your overall health and keep your weight in check. According to the Arthritis Foundation4, a combination approach is best:
- Aerobic exercise, such as walking or swimming, to improve your stamina.
- Muscle-strengthening activities, such as weight training, to build muscle around your joints.
- Range-of-motion exercises, such as shoulder rolls or arm raises, to improve flexibility in your joints and help with stiffness.
- Stretching exercises, such as yoga or tai chi, to lessen stiffness and improve flexibility.
Whatever exercise you choose, be sure to check with your doctor first. Also, start slowly; even a slow, gentle walk around the neighborhood can be helpful.
Tip #2: Pay Attention to Your Circadian Rhythm
Research abounds on the many ways that living your day-to-day life in accordance with your circadian rhythm—the 24-hour cycle of light and darkness—can improve your health, from aiding with weight loss, to regulating digestion and eating habits, to helping with depression and perhaps even enhancing your memory.5-7
Research also indicates that circadian rhythms may play a role in osteoarthritis, with numerous studies suggesting that disrupted rhythms are linked with the development and progression of the disease.8-12 Disrupted rhythms may also affect the severity of symptoms in nearly all rheumatic diseases, including osteoarthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.13
So follow your circadian clock—sleep when it’s dark, rise when it’s light—not only for your overall health, but to help manage your osteoarthritis symptoms. Also do everything you can to protect your sleep, as disordered sleep likely increases the inflammation associated with osteoarthritis—and, hence, your pain.13
If you need to lose weight to improve your arthritis symptoms, consider trying what’s known as time-restricted feeding, or a daylight nutrition strategy, which has been shown to aid with weight loss.14 The premise is fairly simple: Eat within a 12-hour time frame each day, then abstain from food, besides herbal tea and water for 12 hours. This gives your body a 12-hour break from the digestion process, which allows it to burn stored fat.15
The guidelines are simple: Eat according to your circadian rhythm (mainly during daylight hours); avoid late-night snacking; and limit your meals to a span of 12 hours. So if you eat your first meal of the day at 7 a.m., finish your last one by 7 p.m. Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, uses this science-based strategy that comes with many other health benefits such as improved sleep16, boosted energy17 and enhanced mood.17
Tip #4: Load Up on Antioxidants
Not only can regularly adding fruits and vegetables to your plate help with your weight loss goals19, but research also shows that vitamins C and E, glutathione and plant polyphenols may help decrease the progression of arthritis.20
A few of the top foods loaded with vitamin C include bell peppers, brussels sprouts, oranges, broccoli and strawberries. Spinach, avocado and mango are a few excellent sources of vitamin E.
As painful as osteoarthritis can be, rest assured that it doesn’t have to rule your life. We hope these simple lifestyle tips can help you manage your symptoms and live your life to the fullest.
If you’re interested in losing weight, Jenny Craig is here to help. Book your free appointment to start your journey to better health today.
 Gill S., Panda S. (2015, Nov 3). A Smartphone App Reveals Erratic Diurnal Eating Patterns in Humans that Can Be Modulated for Health Benefits. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26411343/
Elisa is a content marketing manager for Jenny Craig with over ten years of experience working in the health and fitness industry. She loves sharing her passion for living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. A San Diego native and an endurance sports enthusiast, you can usually find her swimming, biking along the coast highway or running by the beach in her free time. Elisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Chico.
Favorite healthy snack: mozzarella string cheese with a Pink Lady apple.
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