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



4 easy ways to use your stairs to exercise in your home

Many people would like to exercise but don’t know where to start.

Some people would like to exercise but don’t want to go outside to do it.

Well the good news is there is the perfect training tool right in your very own home – the stairs!

No matter how old, how unfit or out of condition you are the stairs provide a means to slowly and safely increase the amount of exercise you are doing. All in the comfort of your own home and for absolutely free.

The first step. Every time you go past the stairs – walk up three steps then walk back down without turning around (hold onto the bannister if you need to).

Simple. Not too difficult. No sweating. No heavy breathing. But is it doing you any good? YES! Every time you go up a step you are lifting your own body weight against gravity. You are working, in other words, you are doing exercise.

Now imagine how many extra steps you are taking during the day if you do this very time you walk past the stairs, or every time a commercial comes on the telly, or every time you have a cuppa.

Want to progress? Choose a pattern, up 3, down 2, up 1, down 2 – eight steps. Walk up 3, down 3, up 3, down 3 – you’ve doubled your steps.

Step 2. When going upstairs normally take things up the stairs one at a time. Often people will collect things together to reduce the numbers of trips up the stairs. Do the opposite. Find reasons to take more trips up the stairs.

Take the laundry up in small amounts e.g. by room, by type of item. If you’re really into it, take the laundry up piece by piece!

Step 3. Some of you may have been expecting this one. Take the stairs two at a time. By doing this you are increasing the height you are lifting your body weight against gravity i.e. it is harder so the exercise benefit is greater. Only on the way up though, come down the stairs normally.

Step 4. Pause on each step you go up (either one at a time or two at a time). This makes it harder because you don’t get to use momentum to ease your progress. Try it – you may be surprised at how much you use momentum normally without realising. You’ll see this with all sorts of exercises e.g. push ups, doing them slowly with a pause at the bottom is much harder than “bouncing” up and down.

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.

Number 1 mistake even experienced runners make and how to correct it…

…their slow runs are too fast.

When you are fit it feels good to run fast. That’s the reason many of us run! However, running too fast on steady runs and worse of all easy runs is a common mistake.

Doing this results in your training as a whole becoming too similar. You don’t get enough recovery from your harder runs and so your faster runs are not fast enough. If your hard sessions are hard enough you won’t feel like running your other runs too quick.

Every training session has a purpose. Running fast is a skill and so too is running slow. Take pride in being able to master the slow pace running skill and remember the true purpose of your easy or steady run.

Remedy 1. Run recovery runs at a pace you wouldn’t want anybody you know to see you running at. Easy enough to talk non-stop – you should feel better at the end of a recovery run than you did at the start.

Remedy 2. Run steady runs at a predetermined steady pace and stick to it! Don’t go faster no matter how good you feel. If it’s an off day – don’t force it, accept it and settle at slightly lower pace that is easier to maintain. Save your grit and determination for the harder sessions.