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Increase your physical activity to help fatigue

Arthritis can reduce physical activity because of the impacts of joint pain, muscle weakness and fatigue. Although doing too much can increase fatigue, a lack of exercise reduces fitness levels and contributes to muscle weakness, and it therefore can be a cause as well as a result of fatigue.

The good news is that fitness can be improved with the right sort of exercise. Start slowly, perhaps just a 5–10 minute walk, then gradually increase the amount of exercise or activity. Generally, the best way to develop your fitness is little and often. As you get fitter you’ll feel an increase in well-being, strength and energy. Your physiotherapist may be able to help with a fitness programme or advice on exercises, or refer you to a gym or a health walks programme run by local authorities. You can take painkillers before you exercise to help prevent discomfort and allow you to continue with your activity.

You can also gradually increase your daily activities, for example housework and gardening. An occupational therapist can work with you to set specific goals and help you tailor a graded activity programme to reach these goals.

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.