Friday, June 26, 2015
Moving Beyond the pain of Arthritis (Part1)
Arthritis is the most democratic of the world’s diseases. If you develop it, you are in company with 37 million other people in the United States alone. Worldwide it touches the lives of close to 1 billion people. Although its origins are still unknown, one thing is perfectly clear- no adult is immune from the threat of its aches and pains. Those affected are rich and poor, young and old, obscure and famous.
Compared with contracting other diseases, getting arthritis may not seem that devastating. It’s not a communicable disease like AIDS or tuberculosis. Unlike heart disease and cancer, arthritis is usually not a direct cause of death, although death can occur in severe cases of certain types of arthritis. Rather, arthritis is often little more than annoying. Unfortunately, what starts out as an annoyance often turns into a major debilitator if steps, like those outlined in this book, aren’t taken to manage the arthritis properly and retard, perhaps even reverse, its progression. Indeed there are few-if any- diseases more incapacitating than a rampant case of arthritis.
One person who didn’t let premature arthritis hold her back was world-renowned tennis pro Billie Jean King. At age 18 years, she rammed both knees into a dashboard during a car accident. Five years later her doctor told her she had developed osteoarthritis as a consequence. Today, 25 years after that accident, Billie Jean King is retired from an incredible athletic career distinguished by 20 Wimbledon titles, 4 U.S Open Singles championship, and single title in both the French and Australian Grand Slam Championship. But she still follows a daily exercise regimen to keep her arthritis in check, just as she did during the heyday of her tennis career.
“Back in the 1960s when I was diagnosed, most physician didn’t know much about arthritis rehabilation, “Billie Jeans recalls ruefully. She was given a namby-pamby exercise rehabilitation program. Instinctively Billie Jeans knew it wouldn’t do much to foster recuperation from the knee operations she’d undergone. Instead she developed her own “very active” athletic training schedule that included concentrated muscle-strengthening exercise-particularly to build up the muscles around her knees-and aerobic exercise training. Looking back, she estimates it took her about a year after each operation to regain top form.
Like your arthritis, Billie Jean King’s may never go away completely. But she has learned to live with it. “What are you going to do-stop living and stop performing? No way. You simply have to keep going. Sadly, I see too many arthritis patients who are afraid to exercise.”From her own experience, Billie Jeans thinks this is a mistake. “When I don’t exercise , I feel worse. It’s that simple.” Her advice is this:”Consult your physician, preferably one who know is knowledgeable about rehabilitation- and then start an on-going exercise program. You’ll be surprised how well exercise works for the mind as well as the body!”
The success of Billie Jean King and others like her is a testament to the fact that you can lead an active lifestyle despite arthritis. The exercise rehabilitation programs I outline is one of your key to staying energetic and involved in life and all the promise it still holds for you. Indeed its regular exercise at our Cooper Fitness Center that is partly responsible for the wonderful recuperation of two people you’re about to meet.