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If you have arthritis, taking part in physical activity can improve your pain, function, mood and quality of life. Joint-friendly physical activities are low-impact, which means they put less stress on the body, reducing the risk of injury. Examples of joint-friendly activities include walking, biking, and swimming. It can also help you manage other chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Before beginning any exercise, you should first talk with your doctor. You should seek answers to these questions:
Stay as active as your health allows, always talk with your doctor and be mindful of your symptoms. Remember, some physical activity is better than none.
When you are physically active, it is important to listen to your body. Start slow, consider how you are feeling, and adjust your activity levels on days when your arthritis symptoms flare up. Use the talk test to see your activity level. See if you can talk through your activity; if so this is a low to moderate level activity. If you cannot hold a conversation, you are engaging in vigorous activity. If you are not sure where to start, or are looking for a little extra support, talk to your doctor or call or visit your local parks and recreation department and ask about the types of activities that fit your needs.
With arthritis it is normal to have some pain, stiffness and swelling after exercise. It may take several weeks for your body to get used to your new physical activity level, sticking with it will result in long-term relief. Other tips if you have pain include:
There are many great ways to get active. Talk to your doctor about physical activity and what might be right for you! Some examples include: