Use It or Lose It: Exercise and Joint Health
Use it or lose it. This phrase can apply to many things, but it is especially true when it comes to joint health.
Movement is vital to joint health and flexibility. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in dogs as well as in humans. In osteoarthritis, cartilage in the joints deteriorates and causes pain and stiffness. Cartilage does not have a blood supply, so it relies on the synovial fluid moving in and out of the joint for nourishment. This process is greatly enhanced with movement, i.e., exercise. Lack of exercise can actually make joints more painful and stiff.
Other benefits of exercise:
- Increased flexibility and strength of the muscles around the joints
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Increased energy level throughout the day
- Reduced joint deformity
- Improved posture
The harsh weather that we have had this winter makes outdoor exercising a challenge. There are some simple things that you can do indoors such as play fetch or have your dog follow you everywhere you go in your house. Any movement, no matter how small, can help improve the health of your pet's joints.
I have worked with many dogs with arthritis and it is remarkable how their overall energy and enthusiasm increases with proper chiropractic care and exercise.
* I do not recommend that pets exercise on treadmills as it can result in injury.