If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis, or suspect you have arthritis due to symptoms

you are experiencing, then you are not alone. Approximately 350 million people

worldwide have arthritis, and the 2016-17 New Zealand Health Survey statistics show

that more than half of New Zealand’s adults aged over 75 have some form of arthritis –

of which there are many forms (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, infectious arthritis,

metabolic arthritis etc.) here we will be addressing the most common type of arthritis

which is osteoarthritis, also commonly referred to as degenerative arthritis.


What is arthritis?

Osteoarthritis, or a more fun name being “wear and tear” arthritis, is when there is a

breakdown of cartilage in the body. Cartilage acts a soft cushion between our bones

and provides a smooth surface for our joints to glide across. Over time, as we age, this

cartilage can begin to wear away because of a lifetime of movement and exercise and

cause our bones to rub together. When this degeneration occurs, problems will start

appearing in the form of pain, swelling and difficulties moving the affected joint, which

can be diagnosed as osteoarthritis. The most commonly affected joints include the feet,

knees, hips, spine and hands.

So, your cartilage has been used TOO much? It’s worn down thanks to exercise?! The

best possible thing you can do to help it then is to cease movement as much as

possible. Right?



In fact, not moving is the WORST thing you could do to treat your arthritis,

discontinuing, or refusing to start, exercise is actually detrimental to improving your

condition and quality of life. Rather than aggravate the pain surrounding your joints and

stiffen them further, exercising the affected areas will provide relief by strengthening the

muscles surrounding your joints and strengthening your bones, this in turn allows for

stronger support muscles which will alleviate the stress on your joints. Regular exercise

also helps to maintain a healthy weight, and a lower body weight decreases pressure on

the joints.


Best exercises for arthritis

Before starting an exercise program, you should of course see a doctor or physical

therapist to clear you to train safely. Your doctor or physio are likely to recommend you

perform range-of-motion exercises daily such as shoulder rolling, and start a fitness

routine consisting of strengthening exercises through the form of light resistance

training, and aerobic exercises to maintain your overall fitness and cardiovascular

health. Most importantly, you will need to keep the exercise you do low impact. Great

training types for arthritis sufferers include cycling, swimming, walking as well as yoga

to improve your flexibility, balance and relax your muscles.


Always make sure to properly warm up and cool down before you exercise – and as

should be the case for anybody no matter what their state of health, if there is a sharp

pain or swelling during your workout, stop right away and seek medical advice. To help

reduce inflammation, ice can be applied to your joints post exercise for up to 20

minutes, if you feel you require it.



Let us know exactly how we can help and when is best to give you a call.