KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – May is Arthritis Awareness Month, an observance that focuses on the large and growing problem of arthritis in the United States. In 2005, arthritis affected 46 million (one in five) U.S. adults including 1.4 million Missourians and is projected to affect 67 million U.S. adults and 1.72 million Missourians by 2030. Arthritis remains the most common cause of disability in the United States.
The emphasis of this year’s observance is on the benefits of physical activity for persons with arthritis. For adults with arthritis, physical activity can reduce pain, improve function, reduce the risk for disability, and lower the risk for heart disease or Type 2 Diabetes. Any physical activity is better than none, but the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest that low impact, moderate-intensity aerobic activity totaling 150 minutes a week and muscle strengthening exercise at least two days a week generally are safe, beneficial, and achievable for persons with chronic conditions such as arthritis.
Missouri’s Regional Arthritis Centers (RACs) teach how to reduce problems that arthritis can cause and improve living. Since 1985, A.T. Still University has hosted the Northeast Missouri RAC, one of the first in the state to offer Arthritis Foundation Exercise Programs. Free exercise programs are offered in Kirksville at St. Andrews Apartments and the Thompson Campus Center. Other free exercise and healthy living programs are offered throughout the region.
Visit www.moarthritis.org or call 660.626.2049 to learn more about physical activity and self-management programs and to locate a class near you.