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.
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.
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-
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.
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
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.
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.
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
can improv e your mood. Regular movement causes the production
hormones.’ These chemicals are brilliant for reducing stress and
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.
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
• Begin slowly and don't rush to increase the intensity
• Sufficiently warming up the body before exercise, and cooling
• 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
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.