Arthritis Is a Major Contributor to Physical Inactivity

New CDC data indicate that persons who have arthritis are significantly more likely to be physically inactive than those who do not, in spite of the proven benefits of physical activity for arthritis management.

New CDC data indicate that persons who have arthritis are significantly more likely to be physically inactive than those who do not, in spite of the proven benefits of physical activity for arthritis management. The study results underscore the need to address arthritis-specific barriers and to expand the reach of effective arthritis-appropriate physical activity programs, according to the Arthritis Foundation (AF).

A substantial portion (25% to 47%) of inactive adults in every state are adults with arthritis, the study found. In a typical state, about one-third of the inactive adults reported arthritis.

In addition, the number of adults who perform no leisure-time physical activity is 25% to 84% higher among those who have arthritis compared with those who do not. In a typical state, the prevalence of no leisure-time physical activity is 53% higher among those with arthritis than those without arthritis.

Persons with arthritis have specific barriers to being physically active, such as fear of increasing pain or worsening their symptoms, it was noted. However, arthritis-appropriate physical activity helps reduce the risk of other health problems and helps manage the disease.

The AF offers patients with arthritis the following tips for a successful physical activity program:

• If you have been sedentary, start out gently. Talk to your doctor about what types of activities are appropriate for your mobility level. Your doctor may advise you to begin with simple, low-impact exercises, such as walking and water aerobics.

• Aim for performing physical activity for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, which will achieve the recommended 2.5 hours of at least moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Perform the activity at least 10 minutes at a time and spread your sessions throughout the week. Perform muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days a week.

• Incorporate a mix of various activities to keep you moving and enhance your enjoyment of your exercise time. Consider including jogging, swimming, and yoga in your routine.

The study was published in a recent issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. For more information, visit the AF Web site at http://www.arthritis.org. Or, contact the organization at Arthritis Foundation, PO Box 96280, Washington, DC 20077; telephone: (800) 283-7800.

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