National Arthritis Week 2022 ‘Let’s Get Physical’

6 Apr, 2022
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National Arthritis Week kicked off on Monday April-12 with the theme ‘Let’s Get Physical’ highlighting the importance of physical exercise, even in small amounts. Physical exercise is not only good for the body, but it is good for the mind. It improves sleep quality, your sense of well-being, motivation and your ability to manage stress. Arthritis Ireland have brought back their challenge, after being very successful in previous years, of ‘5km A Day’ to raise awareness for arthritis. The idea is to move, including walking, running or cycling, for 5km every day for a week.

Getting started is the hardest part, but it is important to remember why you are doing it and the benefits you will feel in the long run. It is a good idea to set some goals for yourself, small steps at first to slowly build up your fitness level, you will be surprised how quickly this can be achieved before moving on to a higher goal.

According to Gráinne O’Leary, chief executive of Arthritis Ireland, “Physical activity is one of the most effective treatments to help manage arthritis. Although the pain from arthritis can make a person feel less like exercising, even a small amount or moderate amount of activity can help to relieve pain, stiffness and inflammation. Remember it doesn’t have to be a marathon. Even small amounts of physical activity can have a positive effect on symptoms”.

There are some specific exercises that may help relieve the pain, joint stiffness, and other symptoms of arthritis. These include stretching, walking, flowing movements such as yoga, pilates, water exercises and cycling.

  • Stretching: Helps improve flexibility, reduces stiffness and increases range of motion
  • Walking: Helps with aerobic conditioning, heart and joint health, and mood
  • Yoga: Reduces stress, improves flexibility, balance and range of motion
  • Pilates: Similar to Yoga, also activates core muscles and helps with stability
  • Water Exercises: Reduces joint stress and stiffness, increases flexibility, range of motion, strength, and aerobic conditioning. The water helps support body weight, meaning there is no heavy impact on joints
  • Cycling: It is important to keep your heart healthy also. By improving cardiovascular fitness, it decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease

Remember you can only be as active as your ability allows, you can slowly build up to achieve the recommended amount of exercise for adults, this is 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity, 5 out of 7 days a week. In the first few weeks, you may feel some discomfort as your body adjusts to being worked in this way. It is important not to stop when you feel improvements, continuing that level of exercise will maintain the benefits.


Arthritis Ireland, 2022 - LINK

Medical News Today, 2021 - LINK

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