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Joint Effort: Encouraging Exercise for Arthritis Control

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Arthritis impacts an estimated 10 million people in the UK, and this

figure is only projected to rise. Those affected will experience joint

inflammation and discomfort, predominantly found in the older


It may seem obvious, but a proven strategy is part taking in regular physical

activity… something we’re a big advocate for.

Exercise can be beneficial for more than just your health, but also for

your mental wellbeing. Let’s tap into all the ways we can get active

and start living better.

Exercise Options for Arthritis

Just the idea of exercising with muscle soreness can seem daunting...

Yet, there are many wonderful mobility exercises that can aid in

reducing pain and discomfort.

Flexibility Exercises

Stretching can ease stiff joints and enhance flexibility over time. It’ll

gradually extend your range of motion, making everyday movement

so much easier.

There’s various exercises that can be modified to focus on specific

body parts, e.g. neck, shoulders, arms and back. These exercises can

be performed while standing or in a seated position if needed.

If you’d prefer to be in a group setting with a qualified instructor,

attending practices like Tai Chi, Pilates, and Yoga will also provide

relief. These controlled exercises can be enjoyed by all ages and are

designed to be carried out at a leisurely pace. You should leave the

class feeling relaxed, and radiate positivity.

Strength-Building Exercises

While this may sound a little intimidating to a gym novice, this isn’t

about getting you ready to enter a bodybuilding competition.

Strength exercises can actually aid in joint support and ease day-to-

day pain.

Strength-building exercises are often associated with heavy weights

or gym equipment. However, that isn’t always the case, for instance,

body weight can be used instead of dumbbells or machines. All

exercises can be tailored to match your age, ability, and fitness level.

Muscles aren't just about 'looking good' they help maintain bone

density and strengthen your core to help with balance. This is

especially important for seniors, as their bones are more fragile,

making them more susceptible to falls.

Cardio Exercises

Cardiovascular exercises enhance heart health and improve blood

circulation. Cardio’s also great at keeping your weight in check, and

your BMI in a healthy range.

If you're dealing with arthritis, it's best to opt for activities that are

low impact.

Cycling, brisk walking, and gentle dancing are excellent options as

they put less pressure on your joints. If experiencing more severe

discomfort, water aerobics and swimming are preferable. The

buoyancy of water makes the body feel 'weightless' which alleviates

joint pain, making exercise more enjoyable.

Making Friends

Chronic pain can lead to more than just physical discomfort, it can

also result in personal loss. Whether it's ended a career or caused a

relationship breakdown, it's common to notice signs of loneliness.

Fitness classes can help you bond with others and form unexpected

friendships. Find support within a new social circle and meet others

who may relate to your own personal circumstances. It’s a welcome

opportunity for those who might feel isolated and alone.

Mental Health

It should come as no surprise that aches and pains can be disruptive

to daily life. This can really make simple tasks challenging, but they

can initially be dismissed. But if ignored for too long it can start to

negatively impact your mental health.

Exercise is known for its healing properties, releasing hormones that

hormones.’ These chemicals are brilliant for reducing stress and

increasing positivity.

So, we know that physical fitness is great for staying fit and healthy,

but can it also readjust your mindset? In achieving personal goals

through fitness, it can leave you feeling empowered, giving you a taste for success that can be applied to other aspects of life. These

small wins can turn into big results, proving that Arthritis doesn’t

have to stop you in your tracks.

Staying Safe

Never start a new exercise routine without first consulting a doctor.

They can offer guidance on appropriate exercises and answer any

other health-related queries you may have. Other safety measures to

consider include:

• Begin slowly and don't rush to increase the intensity

• Sufficiently warming up the body before exercise, and cooling

down after

• Keep your mind connected to how your body is feeling - stop if you

experience pain or discomfort

• Practising correct form to prevent injury

If apprehensive about starting to exercise, it would be wise to seek

professional advice. Consider joining a local gym and consult with a

personal trainer, this why you can be reassured from someone you

can trust.

Take Action

Arthritis can be a complex condition, but it doesn't have to control

your life. Don't simply endure the pain, take proactive steps today to

manage your arthritis. Whether it's through stretching, strength

training, or cardio, regain control over your health.

If you or someone you know needs support, please contact Exercise

for Older Adults here.


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