photo of Mia Bremer
Exercise and Arthritis: the Best Intentions
By Mia Bremer
Fitness specialist and personal trainer

I often think of the human body as being like a sweet, befuddled uncle whose best intentions are somewhat misguided. Consider, among the many injuries or diseases our bodies attempt to “fix,” the wear and tear of osteoarthritis. 

If you’ve been to the Body Worlds exhibit at the St. Paul Science Museum, you’ve seen one of the knee joints. Instead of a smooth-boned joint, you see a joint surrounded by rough, hard, sponge-like material. The pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis results, in part, from the body’s attempt to “shore up” a joint that has been worn or injured. As a trainer, I know that the only thing worse than a stiff joint is one that is too loose or aggravated and thus, prone to injury. In its own way, our body is trying to help us out and keep our joints safe. It’s hard to appreciate how smart our bodies are, however, when we’re having difficulty standing, walking or working because of painful joints.

Osteoarthritis vs. rheumatoid arthritis
Osteoarthritis is different from rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is an immune system disorder which typically strikes people between the ages of 20-40. What I’m talking about is the joint wear that can happen from years of use. Simply walking, lifting and participating in the activities of your daily life can, over time, take its toll on the structure of your joints. Old injuries or surgeries can also leave damage or instability. That’s why exercise is so important. Exercise can help delay osteoarthritis and, once arthritis has set in, it can be an important part of a treatment plan.

There are three key exercise components that can help keep arthritis from holding you back in your day-to-day life:

Mia defines agefulness as a time to live fully into the future, evoking a positive way to think about our aging selves. As a writer and personal trainer who has worked with older adults for decades, Mia decided a blog would be the perfect avenue for sharing her fitness expertise and her insightful and sometimes out-of-the-box views on aging. The blog's photo project, "This, too, is me," is a joint effort by Mia and DNR photographer Deborah Rose.