Your articular cartilage forms the smooth covering inside your joints and often when someone has degenerated cartilage they are told to decrease loading and get into non-weight-bearing exercise – such as swimming and cycling.
In a way this makes sense in that if you want to preserve and strengthen your cartilage, you wouldn’t run and jump and lift weights, would you? But our body doesn’t work like that, it responds positively to the force we put through it and really lives by the use it or lose it motto.
Recent research shows that:
Through putting load (body weight) on our cartilage we actually promote Transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) gene expression which helps to maintain our articular cartilage strength – That is pretty awesome.(1)
So without going into boring detail – By doing exercise which loads and compresses your cartilage, you actually help to strengthen cartilage and maintain homeostasis.
So get out there and walk, run or lift to keep your joints healthy – whether it is your knees, hips, back or any other weight-bearing joint.