Joint Ef for t Vinata Shetty, ACE, ACSM Certified, Reebok Master Trainer solves your workout dilemmas I know I need to exercise to help counteract my osteoarthritis, but how do I know if a particular exercise is helping or actually making the arthritis worse? Sneha Kamat, Bangalore I’m glad you understand the importance of exercise for improving your condition. There are a few contra-indications to exercise for those with osteoarthritis that you might want to be aware of. l High impact activities can be avoided, as they do have greater impact forces acting on your joints. l To begin with, low impact movements will be a lot safer and less stressful on your joints. l Walking, swimming etc are safe activities to pursue. l Strength training and mobility are other components that need to be addressed. Work on improving mobility and flexibility and then add the strength component. Range-of-motion might be limited due to pain or even stiffness. So work through a range of motion that doesn’t result in any pain while performing any of the exercise movements. l Your warm up should be sufficient and efficient, and include a lot of joint mobilization drills. l Progress gradually and do not attempt too much too soon. That is stressful even for healthy joints! Your condition doesn’t mean you cannot perform activities of daily living or even exercise. If anything, being sedentary and gaining weight can only add to your woes. So, definitely start working out and strengthen your joints, and your condition will improve over time. MOVE OF THE MONTH Strength exercises for key muscles 1. Holding onto a chair to help you balance, raise your left leg straight out to the side and then lower it back to the starting position. Repeat 8-12 times, and then do the same exercise with the other leg. Wear a 1 lb ankle weight to increase the resistance. 2. Holding onto the back of the chair again, raise your leg behind you, moving from the hip and without bending your knee. Go as far as you comfortably can before slowly lowering your leg. Repeat 8-12 times, and then do the exercise with the other leg. 3. Holding 1-2 lb dumbbells, bend your arms at the elbow to raise the weights to your chest. Keep your elbows close to your sides as you lift the weights, and as you slowly lower them back down to your sides. Repeat 8-12 times. 4. Stand at arms’ length from a wall, palms flat on the surface, shoulder- width apart. Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body against the wall and then slowly push back. Repeat 8-12 times.