Doctor Housecalls Blog

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“Office Knee” is becoming a bigger hazard than tennis elbow! More than 1/4 of office workers age 16-65 say they’ve had painful knee joints for up to 2 years. Doctors say that long hours of inactivity make the joints stiff, and weight gain by the sedentary jobs stresses the joints too. However a four-year study of middle-aged adults by researchers such as Dr. Thomas M. Link of the University of California, San Francisco found that both those who were most physically active as well as those who¬†were least active, showed an accelerated breakdown in knee cartilage! Thus, those people at higher risk for osteoarthritis can benefit most from doing only moderate exercise in low impact sports such as walking or swimming. Likewise, researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City found that 53% of arthritis sufferers who were given weekly classes in dance, chair Pilates, Yoga, and Tai Chi reported less pain, and more than half showed improvement in activity levels, sleeping, walking, working, and enjoyment of life in general.



Many studies have shown in recent years that one can keep one’s brain from “slipping” as we age by reading, writing, playing board games, attending a play, etc., including a recent study by Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center and Illinois Institute of Technology. However, according to researcher Alan J. Gow of Scotland’s University of Edinburgh, seniors who participated in more physical activity over a course of three years–including walking several times a week–, experienced less brain shrinkage than those who didn’t exercise as much, and there was no benefit from mentally and socially stimulating activities!! Also, Dr. Martin Juneau of the Montreal Heart Institute put overweight, inactive adults through four months of high-intensity interval training and found that besides weight loss, there was improvement in thinking, memory, and making quick decisions. He suggests at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week. (A recent Danish study found that fast walking and jogging slashed heart disease and stroke risk by 50%, but daily one-hour leisurely walks made no difference!).


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