Physical Activity


Don't sit still for pain brochure

Ariel Capes
Arthritis Public Health Educator
KDHE, Bureau of Health Promotion
1000 SW Jackson - Suite 230
Topeka, KS 66612-1274
(785) 296-1627
Fax: (785) 296-8059

 

People with arthritis benefit from moving their joints on a daily basis. There are numerous benefits to increased physical activity for a person with arthritis. The following are just a few:

  • Increased or maintained bone and muscle strength
  • Improved or maintained posture, balance and coordination
  • Increased or maintained energy
  • Increased or maintained ability to perform activities of daily living
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Weight control
  • Increased or maintained cardiovascular health
  • Improvement in self-esteem and decrease in depression

Another benefit of physical activity for a person with arthritis to note:

Physical activity, with proper warm up and cool down, actually nourishes the cartilage between joints. This fact dispels the myth that physical activity can cause more damage to the joint. More damage is actually done to the joint by not exercising it because then it degenerates and becomes stiff, often leading to more inflammation.

Physical Activity helps to break the "Chronic Pain Cycle."

Chronic Pain Cycle ChartAs noted in the Arthritis Foundation's People with Arthritis Can Exercise (PACE) Leaders Manual (1999, 1993): "...when movement of a body part leads to pain, there is a tendency to stop moving that joint. Muscle spasms also can occur, which further tighten muscles and cause pain. Continued disuse of a joint may cause stiffness, eventual joint contracture (shortening of muscles and ligaments), and other deformities, thus making less movement possible. This loss of motion can lead to loss of function and disability, resulting in the loss of self-esteem and withdrawal from social activities. Depression and stress can result, which increases muscle tension and causes more pain. The additional pain can increase anxiety. And more anxiety = more tension = more pain and so on through the cycle."

For more information about physical activity programs, please contact: