The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists have a great campaign, as part of their ‘Love Activity, Hate Exercise?’ initiative.
This campaign, Being Active With A Long Term Condition, is focusing on how daunting it can be to start to become more active, especially if you haven’t done much exercise before and you are managing a health condition. The new campaign is aimed at helping people to become more active, despite having a long-term condition. They have released special guides for 10 of some of the most common long teem health conditions, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes and dementia.
We see many people who are living with arthritis here at goPhysio, so this new guidance is very helpful for many of the people we help. The evidence to support the benefits of physical activity to help people with arthritis is overwhelming.
Activity and exercise has the potential to help you if you have arthritis in many ways, including:
- Reduce your pain
- Improve your mobility and independence
- Help you get stronger
- Improve your balance
- Increase your fitness levels
- Prevent or delay need for surgery
So, if you are living with arthritis and would like to get more active, here’s how you can get started.
- Choose an exercise type that you’ll enjoy or perhaps revisit one that you have enjoyed in the past.
- Strengthening, cardiovascular and mobility exercises have all been shown to be helpful for arthritis, but the type is less important than the enjoyment factor and sticking to it long term.
- There are no exercises that are off limits, at least in principle. Sometimes care needs to be taken and stepping stone exercises might be required to get to a particular activity but be reassured that any exercise will be helpful in the long term.
- Start off at a lighter intensity and then build up slowly allowing yourself time to accommodate an increase in intensity.
- Some pain or even a slight increase in pain is ok during and after the exercise but it should settle back to pre-exercise levels in 24 hours, not be too severe, or coincide with protracted swelling, heat or redness of joints.
- It might be appropriate to start your exercise in the pool where the decreased weight bearing will be more comfortable. Running, squats and lunges are all possible and practicing in the pool first will allow some time for your body to get used to the movements.
- Choosing the right environment for you might require some experimentation. The gym is not the only option. For some exercising with a partner will be motivating, whilst others might find it distracting. Pick your preference but be open to different options.
- Consider your other health needs. Diet, sleep, limiting smoking and keeping stress as low as possible are all just as important as exercise to manage arthritis symptoms.
- If you get stuck, don’t know where to begin, or are struggling with the symptoms, why not seek professional advice from one of our team, who can complete a comprehensive assessment and give you guidance on how to implement your program.
In addition to individual consultations with one of our Physio team, we are also able to offer a range of services that can tempt, encourage and support you to become more active if you’re living with arthritis.
Positive Steps – This exercise class, designed specifically for those in later life, is a small and un-intimidating exercise class. You’ll work through a series of exercises to develop strength, mobility, balance and flexibility. It’s full of fun and laughter and some great friendships have formed through exercise. If you’d like to come along and have a try, the first class is free. You’ll find more details here.
Rehabilitation – If you’d like to be challenged, we offer a 6 week, individualised exercise programme, tailored just for you. You’ll be expertly guided and encouraged through a series of exercises that will help you achieve your own personal goals. Find out more here.
Clinical Pilates – If you’re after something a little more gentle (although can be surprisingly challenging!), our Clinical Pilates classes could be for you. Teaching you to move well, with control and balance, Pilates is a great way to get you stronger. It is ideal for those with long term health conditions such as arthritis and as you’ll be carefully guided by one of our Clinical experts, so will have the additional support and care to help you work the right areas.
If you’d like any help or guidance or would like to find out more about any of our services, then please give us a call on 023 8025 3317.