Regular Exercise and the Impact on Your Joints
Friday, November 12, 2021

by Liz Bonis, WKRC

Watch the full interview. Click Here

CINCINNATI (WKRC) – Health care providers say people who started a workout routine during the past pandemic year should keep it up.

New long-term research shows not only is it beneficial to your overall health, it also doesn’t damage your knees. Whether people started regular runs inside on the treadmill or stepped outside of their comfort zone, researchers published in the medical journal Arthritis and Rheumatology that they have discovered keeping up the COVID-19 fitness routine isn’t hard on a person’s joints.

An international team of fitness researchers reviewed six global community-based studies. After examining more than 5,065 participants with knee osteoarthritis, they tracked those individuals' symptoms for five to 12 years.

While many people may think of extreme running as something that might lead to weaker joints, this study found that wasn’t necessarily the case. When it came to long-term recreational exercise, researchers found no connection between recreational activity and osteoarthritis in the knees.

Dr. Trevor Stefanski of OrthoCincy specializes in complex knee surgeries. He said he’s not surprised that when researchers looked at exercises such as running, cycling, and swimming, they had little or no impact on the knees.

“Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that can affect shoulders, knees, hips, or any other joints. It’s where the cartilage wears down," he said. "It wears away and exposes the painful bone underneath, and it can be severely debilitating. Keeping your muscles toned and properly strengthened can provide good support for your joints and help to minimize unnecessary stress going through."

However, researchers found that there is still a risk to those who have very physically-demanding jobs, do a lot of kneeling, or have whole-body repetitive movements and whole-body vibration. Those people were found to have a higher risk of injury, which can lead to arthritis.

But experts say regular recreational exercise not only does not have an adverse affect on the knees, it can even be beneficial by helping you lose weight. The less weight your knees have to support, the better.

“Every pound you carry above the waist, on your body, or on your arms lifting at the gym can actually translate to four pounds that the knee sees," said Dr. Stefanski."

So, a few pounds is always beneficial, and a four-to-one return on your investment there."

Learn more about Dr. Stefanski and all the OrthoCincy doctors.