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People living with certain types of arthritis may find that their symptoms dictate how and when they exercise. The following information is intended to give some tips to help people living with osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and fibromyalgia. If you have a condition not mentioned here and would like information about appropriate exercise, talk to your doctor or physiotherapist, or call the Arthritis Ireland Helpline on 1890 252 846.

Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Fibromyalgia

Ankylosing Spondylitis

 

Osteoarthritis

  • Regular exercise is one of the best ways of relieving the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Keeping active strengthens the muscles around the joints helping to prevent further degeneration. Exercise can help to maintain a healthy weight, which will reduce the strain on certain joints.
  • Develop a moderate exercise programme – a strenuous programme may cause more pain and possibly accelerate deterioration.
  • It is advisable to do range of movement exercises every day on every joint.
  • The regime should not increase your levels of pain beyond the two hour rule.
  • Never force a painful joint.

Click here to download the 'Living with Osteoarthritis' information booklet.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

  •  A successful exercise regime requires a balance of rest and activity for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Exercise when levels of pain, fatigue and stiffness are at their least.
  • Do range of movement exercises at least once a day. If done in the morning, they help ease morning stiffness.
  • Strengthening exercises are important to build muscle to protect and support joints.
  • Low impact aerobic exercises such as swimming and cycling are good for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Always maintain good posture.

Click here to download the 'Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis' information booklet.

  • Exercise is also beneficial for people with fibromyalgia, increasing fitness levels, improving sleep and helping them cope with pain better.
  • Vigorous exercise makes some people with fibromyalgia worse – low to moderate aerobic and strengthening exercises are best for people with the condition.
  • Incorporate range of movement and gentle strengthening exercises into daily routine.
  • Maintain good posture.

Click here to download the 'Living with Fibromyalgia' information booklet.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

  • Appropriate exercise is vital for managing ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Stretching exercises of the neck, spine, shoulders and hips are particularly important.
  • Strengthening exercises for the back and hips are good for helping to maintain good posture.
  • Swimming is an excellent exercise for people with ankylosing spondylitis. If you have neck restrictions, try using a mask and a snorkel to breathe while swimming.
  • Avoid jerky movements and high impact exercises.

Click here to download the 'Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis' information booklet

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