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Arthritis – staying active is key

(Content prepared by Mary Pack Arthritis Program, Vancouver Coastal Health)

People living with arthritis are healthier, happier and live longer when they are physically active. Yet it is common to decrease activity levels and become more sedentary when faced with even the earliest arthritis symptoms such as pain, stiffness and fatigue. Being inactive can increase these symptoms as well as your risk of developing other health conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. Research and clinical experience show that doing regular physical activity or specific exercises taught by your physiotherapist can reduce arthritis symptoms, improve muscle strength, protect your joints, reduce your risk of falls and increase your day-to-day functioning. Regular physical activity can help you stay at work and participate in your favourite community activities.

What kind of exercise is helpful?

For people with arthritis, there is a need to balance the time set aside for: 1) therapeutic or rehabilitative exercises (those prescribed by a health professional) and 2) recreational or sporting activities performed for fun and fitness.

Therapeutic exercise improves pain, swelling and stiffness enabling better function in joints or body parts affected by the arthritis or arthritis-related surgery. A therapeutic exercise program is designed for you after an interview and physical assessment.

Common types of therapeutic exercise include:

»    Range of motion and flexibility exercises to reduce stiffness and improve movement in the joints and surrounding muscles and soft tissues.

»    Resistance training to increase muscle strength and endurance, protect the joints, and make activities like climbing stairs easier.

»    Aerobic or cardiovascular training increases your overall stamina, helps with weight control, and has benefits for stress, mood, sleep and general health.

»    Body awareness or ‘neuromotor’  exercises can improve your posture, coordination and balance to lower your risk of falling.

Recreational or leisure time activities can include walking, gardening, golfing,  cycling and cross country skiing. Choose  activities that can be done in a safe, controlled manner, have a low risk of injury, and limit stress on painful joints. In most cases, recreational activities do not replace the need for therapeutic exercises. Talk to a health or exercise professional to learn which types of physical activity and exercise are right for you.

Reducing sedentary behaviour also has health benefits

Prolonged periods of time spent sitting

or lying down to read, watch TV or surf the web during the day can result in risks to your health even if you are getting enough physical activity. Try breaking up this sedentary behaviour by standing up to stretch or taking a few steps every 30 minutes.

How to get started

If you have been inactive recently, start by just doing a little bit of activity frequently throughout the day. If you’re ready to be more active, here are some more tips to get you started:

»    Talk to your healthcare provider to determine your readiness to start being more active.

»    Start a routine where you make physical activity a regular part of your week.

»    Chose an activity that you enjoy and has the option of being with friends.

 arthritis seniors exercise knee hurt safe backHere’s some other information related to this topic:

¨  How to Get Started

¨  How to Exercise Safely

¨  Overcoming Barriers: Stages of Changing Behaviour

¨  Mary Pack Arthritis Program

 

Here’s where you can get more information and ask questions:

Physical Activity Line   1-877-725-1149

email:  info@physicalactivityline.com
web:  www.physicalactivityline.com

 

 

 

Promoting exercise and physical activity for individuals with arthritis 

by: Marie Westby, PT, PhD

Like other British Columbians, people living with arthritis are healthier, happier and live longer when they are physically active. Yet, one of the first things people give up when diagnosed with an arthritis condition is physical activity or their recreational pursuits. Being inactive, in addition to arthritis-related problems, can lead to a variety of health risks, including obesity, Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Pain levels, joint stiffness, muscle strength, balance and daily function can all be made worse by inactivity. For many older people with arthritis, joint and muscle changes due to aging can make matters worse. Therefore, for the person with arthritis, finding the right type of exercise to remain active is very important.

Fast facts 

  • People with arthritis who exercise regularly have less pain, more energy, improved sleep, better coping skills, greater day-to-day function and a lower risk of falling.
  • For people with inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), regular and appropriate exercise can help to control or even reduce disease activity (pain, stiffness, swelling) and maintain bone strength and quality, especially in the small joints of the hands and feet
  • Starting off slowly with a few, low-intensity exercises will help to ensure a safe and successful exercise program.

What kind of exercise is needed?  

Read more...

Info about the Mary Pack Arthritis Program (Click Here)

 

Fact Sheet: Exercise and arthritis from the American College of Rheumatology (Click Here)

 

Information on Rheumatoid Arthritis from National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (Click Here)

 
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL THE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY LINE AT 1-877-725-1149 OR EMAIL YOUR QUESTION TO info@physicalactivityline.com. Our Qualified exercise professionals ARE READY TO ASSIST YOU IN TAKING ACTION TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH! 
 

 

 

The OsteoArthritis Service Integration System (OASIS) is an assessment and referral program that helps people with osteoarthritis self-manage their condition and access support services as any stage of the disease. OASIS services include:

 
  • Multi-disciplinary assessments for individuals in the early stages through to the more advanced stages of osteoarthritis

  • Personalized action plans

  • A variety of education sessions on topics such as exercise, nutrition, and pain management

  • A Listing of Community Services providing information on locally available services

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to help determine if OASIS is right for you.

Q. I’ve recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. How can OASIS help me?

Read more...

"The Arthritis Society is the only not-for-profit organization in Canada uniquely devoted to promoting and funding arthritis research based solutions, education, as well as community support for Canadians living with arthritis"(The Arthritis Society, 2008).

 

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL THE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY LINE AT 1-877-725-1149 OR EMAIL YOUR QUESTION TO info@physicalactivityline.com. our qualified exercise professionals ARE READY TO ASSIST YOU IN TAKING ACTION TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH! 
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