Arthritis Major Contributor to Physical Inactivity

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People with arthritis are significantly more likely to be physically inactive than those without the disease despite the proven benefits of physical activity for arthritis management, cites new CDC data released today.  According to the Arthritis Foundation, the study underscores the need to address arthritis-specific barriers and to expand the reach of effective arthritis-appropriate physical activity programs.

The study, published in the December 9 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found that a substantial portion (25 to 47 percent) of inactive adults in every state are adults with arthritis.  In a typical state, approximately one-third of the inactive adults reported arthritis.

In addition, the rate of no leisure-time physical activity is 25 to 84 percent higher among adults with arthritis compared to those without. In a typical state, the prevalence of no leisure time physical activity is 53 percent higher among those with arthritis than those without arthritis.

"People with arthritis have specific barriers to being physically active, such as fear of increasing pain or making their symptoms worse," says Arthritis Foundation Vice President of Public Health, Dr. Patience White.  "However, arthritis-appropriate physical activity helps reduce the risk of developing other health problems, and helps manage the disease. No matter your ability level, you can engage in activity to help fight arthritis pain and symptoms."

Arthritis Foundation Physical Activity Tips  

>> If you've been sedentary, starting out gently is essential. Talk to your doctor about what types of activities will be appropriate for your mobility level. He or she may advise you to begin with simple, low-impact exercises, such as walking or water aerobics.

>> Aim for 30 minutes a day, five days a week which will achieve the recommended 2.5 hours of at least moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.  You should do at least 10 minutes at a time and spread your activity throughout the week. Do muscle strengthening activities at least two days per week.

>> Incorporating a mix of different activities will not only keep you moving, but can enhance your enjoyment of your exercise time. Consider including in your routine exercise like jogging, swimming or yoga.

For information about arthritis and physical activity, including programs specifically for people with arthritis, visit http://www.arthritis.org.