Exercise as Medicine

runningforthebus

On the work mornings I am running late I invariably find myself running for the bus.  Ideally I would like to take up running as exercise.  Though I don’t know if this is the wisest choice, because I end up winded and wheezing after running a short distance (I know this will decrease as I become fitter), but what really concerns me is that I have osteoarthritis (OA) in both ankles and knees.

Osteoarthritis is known as the “wear and tear” arthritis. My primary care doctor said anyone over the age 30 already has it.

 From the NIH website:

 Osteoarthritis. Some people with knee problems have a form of arthritis called osteoarthritis. In this disease, the cartilage gradually wears away and changes occur in the adjacent bone. Osteoarthritis may be caused by joint injury or being overweight. It is associated with aging and most typically begins in people age 50 or older. A young person who develops osteoarthritis typically has had an injury to the knee or may have an inherited form of the disease.

In 2011 I suffered a tibial plateau fracture in my left leg as a result of a fall on a rain-slicked metal plate in the sidewalk. It was a simple fracture so no surgery was needed.  Two years later my knee started hurting as much as it did during the recovery period. I knew I had the beginnings of OA prior to the accident. An x-ray was taken and it was discovered that I also have osteopenia in that knee.

From the NIH website:

Osteopenia is a term to define bone density that is not normal but also not as low as osteoporosis. By definition from the World Health Organization osteopenia is defined by bone densitometry as a T score -1 to -2.5. There are many causes for osteopenia including calcium and vitamin D deficiency and inactivity. Genetics plays an important role in a person’s bone mineral density and often Caucasian women with a thin body who are premenopausal are found to have osteopenia. Correction of calcium and vitamin D deficiency and walking 3 to 5 miles a week can often improve bone density in the hip and spine.

Three years after being Dx with type 2 diabetes I asked my PCP if I could get tested for vitamin D. He didn’t think it was necessary. I had started taking supplements after reading that some people with diabetes may have a vitamin D deficiency.  I stopped the supplement and convinced him to let me be tested.  The result was that I was one point above being low.

It sounds like walking might be a better option for me than running.  On Friday morning I ran part of the way to the bus, and I must admit that it actually felt good!  But then while moving out of the way of the rude man on the Segway I twisted my ankle and ended up walking/limping the rest of the way to the bus stop.

A wretched cold kicked into high gear on Friday night, so I ended up resting on Saturday. My ankle was still hurting yesterday so this was a good thing.  Today I felt a little better so I walked to the store instead of taking a bus. It took 30 minutes instead of 20 but I was happy that my body was getting exercise.

I know that decreasing my weight (and excess body fat) will decrease the pain from osteoarthritis and osteopenia. And regular exercise will help with this!

Now my stupid cold has moved into my chest. Once my body has recovered from this viral attack I will add walking as exercise back into my life (I did this when I was first Dx with T2 in 2008 and it really helped to bring my blood sugars down).

 

 

 

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