Exercise and arthritis DO mix – here’s why

Your joints were made to move, and they need to stay active – even sore ones.

If you have arthritis, living an active life isn’t always easy. But exercise is one of the best things you can do to take care of your health and wellbeing, as well as your joints. Read on to get some practical tips on how to get out there and start moving.

Why does exercise matter?

relaxing on the sofa

Everyone has days when they don’t feel like moving too far from the sofa– but moving your joints and getting your blood pumping is the best thing you can do to help yourself feel better. Exercise can:

  • Reduce pain. Being active and moving your joints can help to ease the pain and discomfort1
  • Prevent pain. By strengthening your muscles and bones, and improving the mobility of your joints, getting active can help to prevent arthritis pain.1
  • Keep you mobile. Exercise won’t make your arthritis any worse, and it could help you stay active for longer. Active joints are less stiff and more mobile. Remember: use it, or lose it!1
  • Help you lose weight. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the pressure on your joints. If you need to lose weight or avoid putting it on, combining a balanced diet with an active lifestyle is the best way to do it.1

What kind of exercise should I do?

There are three main types of exercise that you should try and do to help your joints.

Stretching exercises will help your joints stay mobile and reduce stiffness. You should aim to do some stretching every day, even during a flare up, to ease pain and keep your joints moving2.

Strengthening exercises help to build up the muscles in and around your joints to support them properly. You should start these slowly and build up, and make sure you speak to your doctor before trying any high-impact activities2

Cardio exercises get your heart beating faster and are the best way to burn calories2.

This guide has some ideas to get you started. Before you start your new exercise regime, we recommend you make an appointment to see your GP. No matter how fit you are and the stage of your arthritis, there are so many options to choose from. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the best form of exercise for your requirements.

How can I get started?

stretching for arthritis pain

It’s never too late to get started. If you’re new to exercise or if it’s a while since you’ve been active, it can feel daunting. So, here are some top tips to help you get going:

  • Start slow. Be patient with yourself; you can build it up. Make sure you follow your doctor’s advice when it comes to the intensity and duration of your sessions.
  • Build it into your day. The easiest way to get active is to make it a part of everyday life. Take the stairs instead of the lift or walk home instead of getting the bus.
  • Little and often. It’s better to do five light sessions per week than it is to do one heavy one. To stay healthy, we should all do 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week1.
  • Find something fun. If exercising is something you enjoy and look forward to, it makes it easier to stay motivated when the going gets a little tougher. Try things out and find an activity that suits you.
  • Go with a buddy. Is there a friend or family member that could keep you company? Getting fit together is more fun than going it alone.
  • Set a goal. Once you’ve been exercising for a few weeks, set yourself a realistic target to work towards .

Ready?

It’s time to get moving! There is more information here about preventing and managing joint pain. If you’d like some specialist advice, we are here to help. To find out more, call us on 0808 101 0337 or make an online enquiry.

To find out more call us on 0808 101 0337 

or make an online enquiry.

Sources

1http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Arthritis/Pages/Livingwitharthritispg.aspx
2https://www.bupa.co.uk/Newsroom/OurViews/exercise-and-arthritis

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