Jennie Garth Says Arthritis Pushed Her to Work with a Trainer: 'It's a Catalyst to Take Care of Yourself'
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In the five years since she was diagnosed with arthritis, Jennie Garth has found a way to work with her joint pain so she can stay active.
"Going to a doctor or a specialist and getting that diagnosis is key, because from that knowledge, we can do our work," Garth, 50, tells PEOPLE. Once she was diagnosed, she says "it spurred me into being more physically active and working with a trainer."
The 90210 star, who suffers from osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis which sees the breakdown of cartilage within joints, says she mainly struggles with pain in her wrists and knees. When she's working out, she focuses on those problem areas. "I just keep working those joints out, I keep using those joints so that there's no sedentary time for the arthritis to creep in anywhere I don't want it."
Her exercise routine consists of weight training up to three times a week, to "keep my muscles and my bones adhered and working well together."
She's also taken up golf, a new sport and hobby for her, though she says her wrist can occasionally cause problems.
"There's some wrist stuff that I feel that annoys me when I feel it because I'm like, 'Oh no, this is going to mess with my golf swing.' "
"Because I have little feelings in my hands, my wrists, my knuckles, those areas, so opening jars [is difficult]. I just hand it to somebody else now and don't even worry about it. 'Can you open this for me? Great. Thanks.'"
While keeping her body moving is "super vital" to the actress, she also turns to topical treatment Voltaren arthritis pain gel to treat her joint pain when it flares up. "I keep it with me, I use it when on the way to the gym, on the way home from the gym," she says of the clinically proven pain relief treatment.
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As the daughter of two parents who she describes as "pretty arthritic," getting the diagnosis was frightening.
"You think of arthritis as an older people's situation and I wanted no part of that, that really scared me," Garth says. "But for me it was more of a catalyst for improving my health and my general wellbeing."
The What I Like About You alum says she is trying to embrace aging.
"I'm moving into it with grace and dignity and a sense of pride of all the years of experience and knowledge and things I've gained from this lifetime," she says. "There's many facets of aging and how it affects you physically, how it affects you mentally is a huge component. And you really just have to come to terms with — this is life."
"We're all going to age, we can talk about it with one another, we can help each other, which is what I'm trying to spread information to people about osteoarthritis and what they can do for relief."
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She says that she hopes to be able to inspire people to take care of themselves when it comes to their own joint pain.
"Sometimes when we get a diagnosis with something that's discouraging or worrisome, our tendency is to hole up and not leave the house or to not do things anymore because, 'Oh, I have this ailment, this issue.' But for me, and what I hope for other people, is that it's a catalyst for you to push forward and take better care of yourself."