Exercise and Arthritis
What is Arthritis?
The word “arthritis” means inflammation of the joints, and its symptoms can include joint pain, stiffness, redness, and swelling. There are many different types of arthritis, and it is important to discuss with your health care professional what type of arthritis you have so that you can develop the right treatment plan. If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, there are many strategies you can use to help manage your condition, such as:
- Getting the support and resources you need (the Arthritis Society of Canada is a great place to start!)
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Knowing about your medications
- Seeing the right health care providers and actively participating as a member of your health care team
There are many different people who can help in the management of your arthritis. Your health care team may include professionals such as your family doctor, nurse, rheumatologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, pharmacist and even an orthopedic surgeon at times.
The Benefits of Exercise
People with arthritis benefit from exercise in so many ways. Just a few of the positive effects of regular exercise can include reducing pain, improving mobility, boosting your mood, and helping to maintain a healthy body weight. A good goal for exercise is to reach a total of at least 30 minutes, three to five times per week. Remember to start slowly and progress gradually! Also, be sure to talk to your health care provider about your exercise plans to make sure it is safe for you to participate, especially if you are new to exercise.
How can a physiotherapist help?
People with arthritis can safely exercise without doing damage to their joints, and the best way to find out which exercises are right for you is to visit a registered physiotherapist. Your physiotherapist will work with you to develop a treatment plan and exercise program that is appropriate for you. They can also help you to learn more about arthritis and how to access the right services for you.
For more information, be sure to check out the Arthritis Society’s Resource Kit at http://www.acreu.ca/pdf/Resource-Kit.pdf
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