Did you know that the family dog could be the best thing to happen to your health? A brisk walk with your canine companion can help keep you and your dog fit and can relieve some of the aches, pains and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.
More than 20 million Americans have osteoarthritis, also known as OA. OA is a degenerative joint disease that is characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage, with bone eventually meeting bone. Many of the disease signs, symptoms and treatments are similar in both pets and people.
“With proper diet, exercise and medical treatment, mobility can be maintained and arthritis pain reduced,” says Dr. John H. Klippel, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation. “This means that your twice-daily walks can help to keep both you and your pet fit while alleviating pain and reducing swelling.”
Early morning stiffness is a common sign of arthritis. While the temptation to rest in order to avoid aggravating the condition is strong, exercise actually helps – keeping joints lubricated and strengthening muscles and cartilage. The stronger the muscles and tissue are around joints, the better they will be able to support and protect those joints – even those weak and damaged by arthritis.
Exercise will help you and your pet:
· Keep your joints flexible.
· Keep muscles around the joints strong.
· Prevent further deterioration of bone and cartilage.
· Improve your ability to perform daily activities.
· Improve your overall health and fitness by giving you more energy – helping you sleep better, making your heart stronger and controlling your weight.
The Arthritis Foundation hosts nearly 300 Arthritis Walks around the country each year to raise awareness and funds to fight arthritis, the nation’s number one cause of disability. A complete schedule can be found at www.arthritis.org.
“We invite everyone to participate in our Arthritis Walks,” adds Klippel. “We know people and their pets who enjoy regular walks will have healthier joints, brighter spirits and a closer bond.”