Contrary to popular belief, arthritis is not worsened with exercise. In fact, when arthritis is coupled with a tailored exercise plan it helps to reduce unpleasant symptoms. In many cases, exercise has been shown to slow the progression of arthritis. In simple terms, movement and exercise helps to keep your joints healthy!
Everyone with arthritis, regardless of severity, will benefit from exercise. Yes, you read that correctly, we did say everyone!
Overcoming Negative Beliefs
The biggest challenge we find in improving your quality of life with arthritis is overcoming the negative misconceptions you may have surrounding physical activity and the negative effect it has on your joints. This is a challenge Physio’s face in clinical practice every day. There are incredibly positive outcomes that come from using your joints for the main purpose in which they are designed – to be loaded up and to be moved, daily!
The benefits of exercise to you
There are a range of physical and cognitive benefits to exercise that far outweigh the potential risk of harm. The most important physical benefits include reducing pain and improving flexibility, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. Other important benefits include having more energy for day-to-day tasks, being in a more cheerful mood and helping you to sleep more sweetly.
The type of exercise best for you will depend on the type of arthritis you have, your physical activity limits and which joints are affected. We strongly believe that a tailored programme to your needs is the best way to go. In saying this, many of you may find it difficult to get going, probably because you don’t know where to start… we are here to help with that!
How to start exercise
Our first bit of advice would be to find a form of movement you enjoy doing; walking along the beach, pottering in the garden, swimming, taking the dog for a walk, joining us for a pilates session, etc. If you can get someone you love to join you it will make the activity more social and easier to do.
The best way to make any new task more manageable is to start off with bite size chunks, try 10 or so minutes at a time. In time you can work up to the World Health Organisations’ recommended 30 minutes per day. It often happens quicker than you think it will.
ONFORM’s Positive Action OA Program
The ONFORM Hip and Knee Arthritis program is aimed at helping you step away from any negative thoughts you may have surrounding exercise and your joints. We aim to guide you in finding more positive approaches to living with arthritis by providing a program that is led by Physio’s and encouraging!
We want to help you to feel more confident and empowered in moving your body and getting back to all the activities you love doing, living your happiest and healthiest life!