Myth #2: Arthritis is inevitable as we get older.
Reality: Time can take a toll on your joints. But according to the National Institutes of Health, only half of all people over the age of 65 suffer from the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis. And studies show that which joints are affected and the severity of the disease may be more closely linked to risk factors other than aging-related wear and tear, including obesity, genetics and previous joint injuries.
Take control: To reduce your risk of osteoarthritis, Dr. Carl Lambert of Rush University recommends taking steps — literally.
"Regular, moderate physical activity strengthens the muscles around your joints, helping to prevent damage to your cartilage," he says. "Exercise also helps you keep off the extra pounds that can put extra stress on your joints."
Just make sure to mix it up: Repetitive stress on joints for long periods of time can cause the wear and tear that may eventually lead to osteoarthritis. So if you lift weights one day, go for a long walk or ride your bike the next.
If you already have arthritis, Lambert suggests trying aquatic (water) exercises. "They'll give you a great workout that's easy on the joints.”