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How much exercise should I do and how often?

Little and often is generally a good approach to exercise.

We should all aim to do 30 minutes of exercise that makes us a bit short of breath five times a week. It’s also recommended that we spend 30 minutes a day on our feet – walking, climbing stairs, etc.

Try three or four 10-minute sessions throughout the day if it suits you better than doing it in one go.

If you have joint pain, start gently and gradually increase the length of time you’re exercising. You can break this into smaller chunks if you need to. Doing 5–10 minutes of exercise each day is important to keep your joints moving and your muscles strong. Try this a couple of times a day and build it into your daily routine.

How will I know if I’ve overdone it?

If an hour after you have finished exercising, you’re still aching or feel more sore than when you started, you may have overdone it. You should feel as if your muscles have done some work and have stretched a little after exercise, but you should not be exhausted or in more discomfort.

Most people take a while to learn how much exercise they can do. Have a rest for the following day and start again the day after, but halve the amount of exercise. Then gradually increase it by a few minutes each day.

If you’ve overdone it, particularly if a joint is hot or swollen, cover the joint with an ice pack or a pack of frozen peas wrapped in a damp towel for 10–15 minutes.

For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.