News & Insights 2 February 2023

It’s rheumatoid arthritis awareness day! The role of physical activity in managing rheumatoid arthritis

What is Rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease affecting 5 per 1000 people and commonly leads to disability (Alethea and Smolen, 2018). It is associated with tendon inflammation which leads to cartilage destruction and bone erosion (Lin, Anzaghe and Schülke, 2020). Some of the symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling and fatigue, all of which can reduce the quality of life of those affected by the condition (Metsios and Kitas, 2018).

What’s the role of physical activity in managing Rheumatoid arthritis?

Physical activity is a key component for effectively treating and managing of RA (Metsios and Kitas, 2018), however, many individuals still fail to incorporate enough of it into their everyday lives. This is likely due to the common misconception that physical activity must be of a vigorous intensity – akin to structured exercise – to be of benefit to our bodies. This is simply not true, in fact, physical activity is defined as “any bodily movement which causes a rise in energy expenditure” (Caspersen, Powell and Christenson, 1985), thus, even normal activities of daily living such as cooking, cleaning or washing the car contribute towards our daily physical activity levels. This fits well with physical activity guidelines for RA, which state that vigorous exercise is not recommended in case of flare-ups (exacerbation of symptoms) as this can have a negative impact on the individual. In contrast, low-impact physical activity such as walking and swimming put less stress on the body and can reduce arthritis pain, improve functionality and quality of life (CDC, 2018). It is worth highlighting that some physical activity is better than none. Even though it is important to modify activity in accordance to pain levels, it is recommended by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for people with RA to stay active as much as possible without worsening their symptoms.

Why KiActiv® Health?

With tailored one-to-one support from a personal KiActiv® Mentor, the personalised nature of KiActiv® Health empowers sustainable behaviour change for physical activity and self-care, in the context of your health, preferences and environment. Supporting you to find your own optimum level of physical activity in a way that suits your needs and preferences has always been a priority for us at KiActiv®. Our personalised approach to empowering physical activity behaviour change ensures that you will develop the necessary skills to maintain your new, optimised level of physical activity far beyond the initial 12-week programme and continue to experience the health benefits that are associated with long-term self-care.

If you like the sound of taking a personalised approach towards harnessing the power of your everyday physical activity to self-manage your RA, other health conditions or just improve your general health and wellbeing, click here to begin your journey with KiActiv® today, and take steps towards a healthier, happier you!

The KiActiv® Team