Exercise and arthritis
Exercise is important if you have arthritis, as it helps to limit pain and maintain mobility. It also boosts energy, keeps muscles strong to support joints, and can prevent disability.
Read on to find out how exercise can benefit you and your joints. This is a condensed version. To read the full version, download our Exercise and Arthritis booklet here.
In this section:
- Why exercise is important
- Before getting started
- Exercise suitable for people with arthritis
- Other popular ways to exercise
- Working exercise into everyday life
Exercise is good for us: it keeps us supple and flexible, and reduces the risk of illness. Everyone benefits from exercise but, for people with arthritis, the benefits of regular exercise are enormous.
Following a regular exercise programme enables people to live a more pain-free, independent life. The benefits include:
- better range of movement and joint mobility
- better pain management
- increased muscle strength
- stronger bones – which can help protect against osteoporosis
- weight control
- improved balance and co-ordination
- reduced stress
- improved sleep patterns
- increased energy levels
- better breathing
- improved self-esteem.
The NHS recommends that adults should undertake a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least five days a week. You can do this in blocks of five to ten minutes if it is too much for you to do in one go.
Lack of time is a common excuse for not exercising. Building an exercise routine into your daily life may take a bit of getting used to, but is worth it in the long run. Finding the right time to exercise is important: some people find it easier first thing in the morning, while others prefer to spread it throughout the day. After a while, exercising daily becomes second nature.