Get help Take Control with Exercise People following the programme have reported that they experienced: Less pain and stiffness Improved flexibility Increased muscle strength and stamina A better level of aerobic fitness If you follow the programme, you can also expect to lessen fatigue and improve your general health and sense of wellbeing. This exercise programme is suitable for people with mild to moderate arthritis. The programme includes warm up and cool down exercises, range of movement exercises, strengthening exercises and aerobic activities. This programme will complement other prescribed treatments and is specially designed for you to do at home. The exercises in this programme are based on best practice. However, before you get started, you should discuss your exercise plan with your doctor or physiotherapist to rule out any reason why you may not participate. Emer McAuliffe is a chartered senior physiotherapist working in the Rheumatology Rehabilitation Unit, Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross and has specialised in the area of arthritis and related fields for several years. Shoulders and elbows flexibility exercises Shoulder depression Starting position: Place your hands alongside your body or on your lap, whichever is more comfortable. Movement: Push both shoulders down toward the ground and hold for a count of five. Repeat five times. Explanation: The trapezius muscle can get very tense and tight. This is a good exercise for releasing that tension. Shoulder flexion Starting position: Sit with your hands clasped in front of you. Movement: Lift your hands above your head and stretch your arms up to the ceiling. Hold for five seconds and repeat five times. Modification: If this exercise is too difficult to do while sitting, try it while lying down with elbows bent. Shoulder abduction with external rotation Starting position: Sit with both of your hands on the back of your neck or on the side of your neck. Movement: Push your elbows apart, separating them as much as possible. Hold for five seconds; repeat five times. Thoracic rotation Starting position: Cross your hands across your chest. Movement: With your hips facing forward, twist your upper body to the right as far as possible. Hold for five seconds and repeat five times. Repeat on the left side. Elbow flexion/extension Starting position: Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and tuck them into your sides, with your palms facing upward. Movement: Alternately bend and straighten each elbow. Repeat five times.