Should you exercise with arthritis?

Short answer – YES!

Appropriate exercise has repeatedly shown to be beneficial for people suffering from arthritis1. Regular exercise can help :-

  • reduce pain
  • increase joint mobility
  • increase muscle strength
  • boost you energy and your mood

What exercise should you do?

Exercise is any physical activity that gets your heart rate up and increases your rate of breathing. So what activity do you enjoy or do you think you would enjoy? Gardening, Walking, Running, Dancing, Gym workouts etc, all can be exercise if you raise your heart beats per minute and breathing rate.

You may prefer to exercise alone. You may prefer organised classes. Exercising with a friend or relative may make it more enjoyable and provide an extra reason to start or stick with it.

What is important is that exercise is regular and consistent. At first how often is more important than how long you exercise.

How often should you exercise?

How often you exercise depends on your starting fitness and how long has it been since you last did any exercise. There are no hard and fast rules. Twenty minutes, three times a week may be a good starting point and if that is too much – do less. Remember, something is better than nothing.

Current guidelines2 recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. That doesn’t mean you should start at 150 minutes in your first week. Build up slowly, letting your body adapt to the change before increasing. Once you get to 150 minutes per week – keep going! the benefits of exercise will continue to increase.

How hard should you exercise?

So what is “moderate” exercise anyway? The easiest way to tell is by talking :-

  • Light intensity exercise – can talk freely, even sing if you want to
  • Moderate intensity exercise – not so easy to talk, full sentences difficult
  • High intensity exercise – talking not an option, might be able to grunt one word replies

So, in summary

  • Exercise good
  • Start slow and build up
  • exercise somewhere between singing and grunting

Any questions get in touch via our contact page or comment below.

As with all exercise advice, get medical advice if you are unsure if it suitable for you and any medical condition you may have. Stop and seek professional advice if any of these exercises cause you pain.

Further information

Really useful videos by OA Optimism here

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/arthritis/living-with/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6536904/

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