Arthritis and Exercise
Exercise and physical activity are among the most important things you can do to manage your arthritis. Regular exercise can reduce pain, prevent your symptoms from worsening and improve your everyday function. Exercise can also help you feel better and get a good night’s sleep.
Motivation can be difficult, especially if you’re aching all over. Finding a physical activity that works for you and that you enjoy will make a big difference to how motivated you feel.
Here are a few tips:
- Be flexible with your exercise routine. Some days will be better than others. Know what you can do and choose other options on the days when joints are sore.
- Set realistic goals. It doesn’t matter if they’re very simple to start with. Gaining a sense of achievement, no matter how small, will keep you motivated to continue.
- Pace yourself. It’s better to exercise in short bite-sized chunks, rather than going hard out and ending up exhausted.
- Protect your joints from strain and injury by using walking sticks, braces and cushioned, supportive footwear.
- Be creative. Remember that caring for children, housework, and gardening are all excellent forms of exercise.
- Find an exercise buddy or a friend who will encourage you to keep going.
- If cost is a challenge, ask your GP about a Green Prescription or find out if you qualify for the disability allowance. Click here
Here are some suggestions from others with arthritis:
“I go to aquacise classes three times per week. It really helps to keep me moving.”
“I have a dog who needs walking, a horse that needs riding and a farm to work on. I am very glad for all of these things.”
“Cycling is low impact on my joints and the muscle strength I have gained has made a massive difference to my general rheumatoid arthritis. I feel the best I’ve felt in 11 years.”
“I gave up knitting because it hurt my shoulders and elbows. With treatment and circular knitting needles, I’m loving knitting again.”
“I believe in the saying ‘move it or lose it’. Getting going can be hard if I’m tired or sore. However I know I’ll feel a lot better afterwards.”
To see all of our videos, visit our YouTube Arthritis New Zealand channel and subscribe or visit our Webinars page.
Arthritis costs the economy $12.2 billion a year
48% of those with arthritis are of working age
Women are more affected by arthritis than men
People of any age can develop arthritis, including young children