Last updated: Wednesday 20th October 2021

Next update on Wednesday 3rd November 2021

Andover Neighbourcare Bookshop

More details in next update on the

3rd November

Tips on exercising with arthritis

Tips on exercising with arthritis

By AXA Health Sep 7, 2021

Exercise has been shown to improve arthritic symptoms as well as benefiting our bodies in so many other ways so it is extremely important to be active. 

Dan Webster and Dan Poulter from AXA PPP healthcare explore which type of exercise may be most beneficial for arthritic joints and why.

The word arthritis is used to describe pain, swelling and stiffness in a joint and there are estimated to be approximately 10 million people affected in the UK. There are over 200 different types of arthritis, two of the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.


Typically occurring in those over 40 years of age, osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease affecting approximately 9 million people in the UK.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time causing changes to the bone, tendons and ligaments causing inflammation. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine. Causes can be as a result of an injury or overuse, although obesity, gender, race and family history may also be possible risk factors.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease and is less common than osteoarthritis, affecting approximately 400,000 people in the UK but again predominately in those over 40 years of age.

The immune system which usually fights infection attacks the cells that line the joints, causing pain and inflammation and can affect more than just the joints.

Exercising with arthritis

Being active is the main way to relieve symptoms of arthritis. So even if you feel that it is the last thing you want to do when in pain, it has been shown that exercise is key to improving your symptoms and even slowing down your condition.

Being inactive may lead to weakened muscles which will not be able to support the joints and so in turn may lead to increased tightness and ultimately more pain.

Contrast that with being active and it’s a ‘no brainer’.  Exercise will not only help strengthen the muscles that support the joints but will also increase their flexibility and stability. Exercising should also assist with keeping to a healthy body weight which will further help by reducing extra strain on damaged joints.  An added benefit is improved sleep which in turn should aid the body to repair itself.

Day to day function may also be improved with the correct type of exercise and intensity as it can help to prevent the breakdown of cartilage and so reduce inflammation and pain.

What type of exercise is most beneficial?

Ideally, an exercise programme should include a combination of different types of activity so the body will be benefit in different ways. It is most important, however, to choose a sport, exercise or activity that you enjoy as you will be more likely to stick at it.

Any activities should include some form of aerobic activity for at least 150 minutes over the course of the week; this is where your heart rate and breathing are raised. There should also be some type of resistance exercise per week to help build muscle and bone strength and finally, it is important to include some flexibility training for joint mobility and improved range of movement.

Aerobic activity

Choose low impact exercises that will not put unnecessary strain on joints. Aerobic exercise, from 3 to 5 days a week, will increase overall fitness and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It should also help with maintaining a healthy body weight and give you more energy.  Choose from exercises such as brisk walking, swimming, water aerobics and dancing.

Resistance exercise

Some muscle strengthening work, 2 to 3 days per week, will help to support and protect your joints.  Large group muscle exercises using your own body weight, resistance bands, machines or free weights (such as dumbbells) are recommended.

Flexibility training

Simple stretching exercises will help improve range of motion along with helping to minimise injury before and after exercise.

Move slowly into a stretch position to the point where you feel a stretch surrounding the joint, but not pain. Hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds and repeat several times. Once flexibility improves, stretches can be held for longer.

Tips on how to start exercising with arthritis

Take things slowly at first –if you’re new to exercise or if you experience sporadic pain and/or discomfort due to your arthritis then don’t rush. Gradually build the intensity and/or duration of activity so you get used to the activity you’re doing.

Stop if you feel pain – if you feel sudden pain when exercising then stop and seek professional guidance from a qualified sports professional or your GP. It may be that you just need to lower the intensity and work out what’s right for your body.

Don’t forget to warm up and cool down – this will prepare your body for exercise and will help to minimise injury. Find some complete warm-up and cool down videos from The Arthritis Foundation here

Go with a friend – if you’re new to exercising or struggling to stick to your plan then try exercising with a friend or join a class. It should then be easier to find the motivation you need.

Make time to include exercise in your life. Upping your activity levels and following these tips should not only help to improve your symptoms but also your overall wellbeing.

phone 2
phone 1


Andover Neighbourcare is a local charity providing a wealth of services to the local and wider community.We offer help with Transport, Shopping, Cleaning, Gardening, Relieving carers and much much more.You can find us at 12 to 16 Union Street, Andover, Hants, SP10 1PAThe office is open from 9 to 4 or ring us on 01264 339899 / 404142 or 336020

The Neighbourcare Telephone Buddie Scheme was set up during the pandemic. Over 1000 people were contacted by telephone to check that they had the appropriate help that they required. 400 people during this time had regular telephone calls and prescriptions were also collected on their behalf. Most of these people are still receiving this assistance and this service is still ongoing. To obtain a Buddie, please call 01264 339899 and ask for Pam.

Andover Neighbourcare is a local charity providing a wealth of services to the local and wider community.We offer help with Transport, Shopping, Cleaning, Gardening, Relieving carers and much much more.In addition we also offer on Monday Afternoon Tea & Games which are held at the United Reformed Church hall.More information about Andover Neighbourcare, our staff, volunteers, services, members and community shop can be found by simply clicking the relevant button in the menu on the top left hand side of this page. MEMBERSHIP SCHEME Our membership scheme cost just £20  per year or £30 per year for couples. Membership benefits include up to date information with what's happening at Andover Neighbourcare, parties, events and reduced rates on Mini Bus fares. Please use the contact form to register your interest, pop in to the offices or call 01264 404142.

Andover Neighbourcare has been asked about how people can donate on line to the charity. You can donate cash by going to localgiving.org/charity/andover-neighbourcare.Cheque donations can be sent to 12 Union Street made payable to Andover Neighbourcare.Cash donations can also be made at the office for which you will be listed as a friend of Neighbourcare.Donations for the charity shop can be collected if needed.Or if you only wish to give your time to help on any of the schemes we run please contact the officeMany thanks for your support.

Follow us on Facebook

Please click on the highlighted square section on the left of the below logo

If you would like to contact us please fill in the form below.

When you fill in the below form please check your e-mail and if possible add a phone number.


Number of people that have walked over  our site.