“Inflamed joints”, “wear and tear”; phrases you’ve probably heard before if you have arthritis, and they’re not nice ones! This makes it sound like you have done irreversible damage to yourself and are doomed to be in pain forever; but this is not the case.
Pain in osteoarthritis can be complex but research has shown that the degree of so-called “wear and tear” in your joints is actually poorly correlated to the pain you experience. So, if we know we are not doing damage to our joints by moving, then maybe we should get all the benefits that movement has to offer.
In general, people with arthritis should be exercising the same amount as other adults just with a few modifications. One of these modifications is to work with what your pain allows. If your pain is allowing you to climb Kilimanjaro, then climb Kilimanjaro! Even the nastiest of flare ups are no excuse to sit in bed all day; moving the joints gently through their range can offer pain relief and a quicker return to function in these cases.
So what exercise can you do? Resistance training can increase the strength and enhance the capability of your muscles to support the joints of your body. Some of you might find that exercises that take the weight off your feet, like swimming, are more enjoyable and pain-free; if so keep at them!
Using exercise, we can provide you with the tools to self-manage your arthritis, tackle weight loss (a high BMI is correlated with arthritis) and to improve your quality of life.