Joint Activity

Walking photo Scotland

The Joint Activity self-management programme aims to support people living with arthritis or any other long-term medical condition to get active and stay active within their own community.

Evidence shows that activity and exercise is good for us, even when we have a long-term condition like arthritis. Regular exercise helps us to remain well for longer and manage our joint pain more effectively. When you face pain on a daily basis, sometimes even putting your shoes on can seem a step to far, and the idea of a little light exercise may seem like climbing Ben Nevis.

Our Joint Activity programme is designed to bring together people facing similar health challenges to support each other in finding a way to better health.

The first step is to come along to our series of workshops, delivered by Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) accredited trainers who also have arthritis and other long-term conditions. You will be given the tools and techniques you need to manage the challenges you face.

There are six workshops available, covering a range of topics. After the introductory workshop, you will have the opportunity to say which other topics are most relevant to you. The workshops are as follows:

•    introduction to person centred self-management
•    effective communication
•    understanding pain and other symptoms
•    activity and exercise
•    finance, welfare and employment
•    managing change

Alongside the workshops, Joint Activity also offers the opportunity for you as participants to continue to meet as a group, expand your activities and continue to support each other within your local community.

You can also train to be a Joint Activity leader in one of a range of activities and therapies:

•    tai chi
•    boccia
•    health walks

Financial support for the first year is available through the Joint Activity programme to assist with the cost of group meetings and venues.

Frequently asked questions

Who can attend?

Anyone living with arthritis, and/or another long-term medical condition, who finds it difficult to cope with the impact on day-to-day living.

How long do the modules last?

Each module lasts half a day, either one morning or an afternoon.

How many modules do I have to attend?

Everyone will be invited to attend an introductory module. The trainers will then design a future programme having identified the most relevant workshops for each groups’ needs. This may be one module, or all six modules.

What happens then?

As part of the process, participants can continue to meet to provide on-going peer support.

Please email us or call us on 0845 600 3756 for further information.

Activ8 walking group

Activ8 Ayrshire is a walking group based in North Ayrshire. The group has a core group of walkers, many of whom live with chronic pain which limits their capacity to get out and about and engage in physical activity.

The walk takes place once a month on the 2nd Thursday of each month. By walking regularly, you can help keep your heart stay healthy. There are many benefits from regular walking including improved cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle tone, boosted metabolism, raised energy levels and improved sleep. It also helps reduce the risk of falling by improving stability.

There are considerable mental health and well-being benefits associated with regularly taking part in walking, such as helping you to deal with anxiety and stress, and to manage the pain related to many long-term conditions.


‘I personally feel empowered and enjoy taking the walks, meeting new people and hearing how much they enjoy the walks. It has had a positive effect on my arthritis and has made me feel better about myself.’ Sharon Macpherson, volunteer walk leader
‘The walk along the harbourside today was most enjoyable, meeting new people and being able to participate was great. Thank you Sharon for letting me know about it.’ Gillian Scott, walker

For further details please contact Sharon Macpherson.

What is tai chi?

Tai chi began as a martial art form. It involves a form of exercise characterised by slow, relaxed controlled movements and deep breathing. There are a number of different styles of tai chi but all are usually done standing, although some can be done in a sitting position. It often involves total concentration so it has a meditative aspect. Research has shown that there are health benefits including promoting flexibility, balance and cardiovascular fitness, stress management and it has been shown to be of benefit for those with arthritis.

What is Tai Chi for Arthritis?

Paul Lam, a doctor and tai chi master who was based in Sidney, developed a tai chi program for people with arthritis based on the Sun style. It uses a set of 12 movements and qigong breathing exercises.

How does it work?

Tai chi works by working the major muscle groups and joints in slow controlled movements. The benefit of this type of exercise is that it low impact so joints are not jarred and no sudden movements causing muscle strain. Because exercises involve weight transference from one leg to the other it may improve your control of balance. Some studies have suggested it reduces bone loss. The evidence as to whether it helps in reducing the number of falls people have is mixed. Why tai chi has beneficial effects is unknown.

Research suggests that the meditative aspect of tai chi which involves mindfulness improves concentration. Is also reduces stress, blood pressure and heart rate.

How to learn the programme?

Nowadays tai chi is practised mostly for health improvement. There are many forms of tai chi for people with or without arthritis – Tai Chi for Arthritis is a good way to start your journey to better health. It is an enjoyable and safe way to exercise, and it delivers many health benefits.

The Joint Activity programme offers many opportunities for people living with long-term conditions like arthritis. You can attend one of our many workshops taking place in various areas of Scotland.

Better still, you can become a volunteer and help us deliver one of the many wonderful therapies like Tai Chi for Arthritis in your community. For more information on this please email us or call us on 0845 600 3756.


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