ARTHRITIS IS a complex family of more
than 100 different musculoskeletal disorders that destroy joints, bones, muscles,
cartilage and other connective tissues,
hampering or halting physical movement.
The disease is the leading cause of
disability in the U.S., and strikes 50
million adults (one in five) and 300,000
children. Arthritis is a more frequent
cause of activity limitation than heart
disease, cancer or diabetes.
Annually, arthritis results in:
; 44 million outpatient visits
; 992, 100 hospitalizations
; 9,367 deaths
; 21 million people with activity limitations
; $128 billion cost to U.S. economy
Not all causes of arthritis are under-
stood, and there are not yet cures for the
disease, but there are a broad range of
treatment alternatives geared toward
relieving pain, improving mobility and pre-
venting additional damage. These include:
; Lifestyle changes such as exercise
programs, physical therapy, massage
; Medications, always with the guidance of a doctor, including prescription
meds, over-the-counter drugs and
; Surgery for joint repair or replacement
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Scan or click here for a video
about the Arthritis Walk. (See
page 5 for scanning details.)
Common forms of arthritis
Osteoarthritis, the most common form
of arthritis, is a progressive degenerative
joint disease characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage. It affects nearly 27
million Americans, most over the age of 45,
and is associated with risk factors such as
obesity, a history of joint injury and age.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic disease characterized by the inflammation of membranes lining joints,
causing pain, stiffness, swelling and often
CONTINUED ON PAGE 88
STAYING HEALTHY OUTDOORS
By Linda Melone
CHASING A LITTLE white
ball around a manicured lawn
may seem more like a game
than a sport (that particular
debate, which has been going
on for years, is further covered on page 20),
but don’t tell that to your muscles. Golf
requires strength, balance and coordination.
An injury can set you back for the entire season. Take a proactive approach using
stretches and strengthening exercises to help
reduce your risk.
Before you start, it’s best to meet with a
fitness specialist to assess your limitations
and make specific recommendations, says
Costco member Fabio Comana, director of
continuing education for the National
Academy of Sport Medicine. “Injury prevention requires using proper golf mechanics and the right equipment … and then
you can prepare the body.”
© PANKAJ KUMAR / AGE FOTOSTOCK
The following stretches and exercises
address the body parts most likely to pay
the price of an active golfing season.
rotation at the hip, the stress travels to another
joint [knee], which can lead to injury.”
Try this hip stretch: Sit toward the
front of a chair and cross your right ankle
on top of your left knee. Place both hands
on your right knee. While gently pushing
down on your right ankle, lightly pull your
right knee toward your stomach to feel a
stretch deep within your hip near your buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds. Keep your
shoulders back and chest opened up.
Stand with both feet together, holding
a light (4-pound) medicine ball or dumbbell close to your chest. Tighten your
abdominal muscles and slowly rotate left
and right, moving hips and shoulders in
unison. Perform two to three sets of eight
to 12 repetitions in each direction.
This strengthens the rotator cuff muscles, which help stabilize the shoulder.
Slowly raise your arms upward from your
sides to shoulder level, moving them to a
point where your arms are about one-third
of the way to being directly in front of you,
keeping your thumbs pointed upward. Do
one set of 15 reps.
To protect your knees, it’s most important to warm up and stretch your hips, says
Joseph Ciccone, a physical therapist with
ColumbiaDoctors Midtown in New York
City. He says, “If you don’t have sufficient
Help the wrists with a simple wrist
flexor and extensor stretch. Hold one arm
straight out in front of you at shoulder
height, palm facing down. Use your other
hand to gently push the palm of your outstretched hand down, bending your wrist.
Now flip your hand so the palm is facing up,
and use your other hand to gently bend
your hand until it faces out. Repeat stretches
three to five times in 20- to 30-second
increments, recommends Ciccone.
Before performing these moves, be sure
to warm up thoroughly with light cardio,
such as walking. “Then follow these exercises with practice swings at a slow pace,
moving hips and shoulders in unison, one
set of 10 reps and using full range, before
heading to the green,” says Comana. C
MAY 2013 ;e Costco Connection 87
is a California-based writer specializing in
fitness, health and nutrition.