Feeling lucky that you don’t have arthritis? Don’t celebrate just yet.
Nearly one-quarter of adults in the United States has arthritis, or about 58.5 million people, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More than half of these folks are 18 to 64 years old and in the prime of their working years, making this disease especially devastating. The financial toll from such pervasive arthritis: more than $300 billion in lost earnings and medical care each year, the CDC says.
Low-impact exercise is one of the most important ways to manage arthritis pain and symptoms, according to the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance, the CDC and other groups. This type of routine activity is effective and accessible, and it’s never too late to start.
Walking, biking and swimming are often listed as great low-impact exercises for people with arthritis. “I often recommend water therapy if you have access to a pool,” said Dr. Elexander Atkinson, a family medicine physician with Novant Health in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Whether you’re walking, swimming or doing water aerobics, it’s my No. 1 recommendation.”