Written by James Lyons
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Osteoarthritis, otherwise known as degenerative joint disease, afflicts over 20 million Americans, most of whom are over the age of 45. This degenerative joint ailment affects more women than men. Don't feel bad, men; colon cancer likes you more than women. Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis and is characterized by the degeneration of cartilage in the joints.

Cartilage acts as a cushion between bones. If there's no cartilage, the bones rub together, causing pain and restricting movement. While osteoarthritis mainly affects people over the age of 45, it's also somewhat common in athletes. People who consistently apply pressure to their joints--runners, hikers, basketball players, football players, soccer players, tennis players, and gymnasts--are more likely to develop some form of osteoarthritis.

Preventing Osteoarthritis

Obesity is an enormous ally of most types of arthritis. The more you weigh, the more your joints have to endure. Undue pressure on the joints can eventually lead to the breakdown of cartilage. Different forms of arthritis are especially prevalent in the United States because of our high rates of obesity. A healthy diet and low-impact exercise are two of the best ways to prevent the onset of osteoarthritis.

Yoga and Pilates are two excellent ways to increase flexibility and joint strength. These two forms of exercise are sweeping the nation. Those who regularly participate claim to sleep better, relax easier, and ache less. A lack of muscle strength surrounding the joints can contribute to existing arthritis or increase one's risk of getting arthritis. These two activities specifically strengthen the joints and the surrounding muscles.

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