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An_250000 posted:
Hi,

I am a 56 year old woman with rhuematoid arthritis and overweight. My knees will need to be replaced but I am trying to avoid that as long as possible. I have been walking about 2 miles, 3-4 times a week.

I would like to know what other exercises I could do to strengthen my knees and lose weight?

Thanks,
Melinda
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BabyParks responded:
This an awesome thing Melinda if you are already walking you are doing a weatlh of good. My husband has horrible knees and is able to use the elliptical machine. We got one used for 50 bucks if you could look on craigslist possibly. I love doing my workouts at home and using my beachbody videos. I love Chalene Johnson and I've also heard great things about Les Mils body pump but haven't tried it and it's tougher than just the regular cardio I am doing. They have all different kinds of workouts that are easy to as hard as the insanity programs I'll never try. I am content with just getting my heart rate up for now. I have lost 24 pounds by eating clean, exercising and it's so much easier than I thought. I have 2 little boys but am able to manage it even as busy as I stay. I have a lady on my DVD that just turned 61 that does our workouts and looks so young I would have guessed she was in her 40's. My mom just turned 61 and I am trying my hardest to get her on board to lose some weight and feel better. She was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia too! I hope you feel better soon and keep up the great work. Any other questions I'd love to chat Take care, Courtney
 
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Rich Weil, MEd, CDE responded:
Hi Melinda,

Sorry I didn't see your post earlier. I seem to have missed it. You've got the right plan. It's a very good idea to get as strong as possible before the surgery; it will speed up your recovery. To get you started, I recommend straight leg raises to strengthen the muscles around your knee (primarily quadriceps). To do them lie on the floor on your back, one knee bent, the other straight, hands palm down under the buttocks to support the low back. Contract the quadriceps on the straight leg first, then raise leg to the height of the other knee. Pause 1-2 second at the top, then lower leg but do not allow it to touch the floor. Repeat 10-15 reps, 3 sets. As you get stronger and can easily do 15 reps, use ankle weights. Start with one pound and work up. You should always be able to do 10-15 reps. As you get stronger, you may be able to progress to leg extensions, leg curls, leg presses, squats, and other exercises, but first you should get your leg stronger with the leg raises. Here is a slide presentation that will help.

http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/joint-injections-9/slideshow-knee-exercises (slide #3).

And then click to slide #4 which describes how to tighten the quadriceps before lifting as I instruct above.

And here's an exercise to strengthen the muscles in the back of the legs http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness_programs_exercise_library_details.aspx?exerciseid=131

As for weight loss, check out the Diet Club that matches how much weight you want to lose.
http://exchanges.webmd.com/dieting-club-10-25-lbs-exchange
http://exchanges.webmd.com/dieting-club-25-50-lbs-exchange
http://exchanges.webmd.com/dieting-club-50-100-lbs-exchange

WebMD has some great diet experts and, along with advice from the Community members, you'll get some real traction on weight loss.

I want to mention one more thing. Knee replacement surgery, in my experience, is the most successful surgery for improving quality of life. You'll be able to sit, get up, walk, climb stairs, and many other exercises without knee pain. It will be liberating.

Feel free to post back with any other questions, and again, sorry I didn't see your post sooner.
Rich
 
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bunz68 replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
Rich,

Thank you so much for your advice although I have been doing squats. I will try to keep you updated about my progress.

Melinda
 
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brunosbud responded:
I suggest you consider using a pedometer and track your steps, daily. I carry mine with me at all times. Although I perform exercise twice a day (primarily for diabetes management and prevention), I'm actually more concerned about my activity level for the entire day. I average 13,000 steps (6 miles), 365.

Since you have arthritis, obviously, you must take extra precaution and monitor pain level when performing any exercise. Swimming is fantastic. It adds flexibility, it's aerobic, it's strength training, builds balance and easy on joints. If you could swim just a couple mornings a week, I think you will start to feel immediate improvement and less pain.


Lastly, I'll add this. Today, I took a bad fall during my 4:30AM walk with my dogs. At the time, I was shadow boxing and I tripped over a bad joint in the concrete. As I was going down, I was able to take a last second, desperation step to help break my fall and allow me to get my hands in front to avoid a total face plant onto the cement. I scraped my knee, badly, and I lay frozen in pain for about a good minute but I was able to pick myself up and get home.

As I write this post, aside from the bad scrape, I am relieved I was able to avert serious injury...that quick, short step saved me. I seriously doubt many people my age and size could escape injury in a fall like that. This is why I perform exercises that challenge and test my balance and I perform simple Yoga stretches, first thing, every morning. I was prepared for just that moment...I'm 56, too.
 
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Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to bunz68's response:
You're welcome Melinda. The fact that you're already doing squats is a good thing. They are great for strengthening. You ought to do as many leg exercises as you can to maximize strength. Ask your doctor if it would be okay to start now the rehab exercises you'll be doing after the surgery> For example, here are some of them http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00301

Like I said, the quality of your life will change dramatically for the better after the surgery. Keep up the good work. Rich


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