World Arthritis Day: Beat Disease With Physical Activity


The theme of this year's World Arthritis Day-celebrated every year by the American College of Rheumatology and other organizations-is "Move to Improve."

The theme of this year's World Arthritis Day-celebrated in October every year by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and other organizations-is "Move to Improve." The goal: encourage patients to engage in physical activity to combat rheumatologic diseases, including osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, and psoriatic arthritis.

Arthritis and other rheumatologic diseases affect an estimated 50 million Americans, including nearly 300,000 children, and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and other disorders is increased in those who are inactive, the ACR noted. In addition, inactivity in patients with many forms of arthritis may worsen pain tolerance, muscle strength, joint flexibility, and balance. Although physically active patients may experience improvement in pain, energy, sleep, and day-to-day functioning and live longer, healthier lives-especially those with arthritis-having arthritis is one of the main reasons patients give for limiting physical activity and recreational pursuits.

To promote physical activity to patients and provide them with help in setting up a safe, realistic, and customized exercise plan, the ACR offered the following tips:

•  Start by consulting with your rheumatologist.

•  Set realistic short- and long-term goals and reward yourself when you have achieved them.

•  Exercise with a friend or family member.

•  Maintain an exercise log or chart your progress on a calendar.

•  Create several exercise options and locations to avoid becoming bored.

•  Identify problems or obstacles and plan ahead how you will deal with them.

•  Choose activities that are convenient, inexpensive, and fun.

In addition, the ACR is partnering with the Arthritis Foundation on its Ad Council campaign to help persons aged 55 years and older who have or are at risk for OA discover movement as a way to combat the disease. The campaign, Fight Arthritis Pain, was created to increase public awareness of the simple steps that everyone can take to prevent and decrease the pain and disability of OA.

For more information, visit the ACR Web site at Or, contact the organization at American College of Rheumatology, 2200 Lake Boulevard NE, Atlanta, GA 30319; telephone: (404) 633-3777; fax: (404) 633-1870. For more information about the World Arthritis Day, visit


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