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Being active

family gently running through the woods

Being active has many benefits. It will help you to sleep better, maintain a healthy weight, manage your stress levels and improve your energy levels - all of these can help to improve your quality of life. Being active is especially important if you are awaiting or undergoing treatment. It will help to strengthen your heart and lungs which in turn will help your body to cope with any current or future treatments. 

Any activity that makes you feel slightly out of breath is beneficial. If you are already active, continue as you are, or if you feel able, try and do a little more.  If you are not currently very active or feel you could do more, this is the time to give it a go. Do it today, don’t put it off. Lack of movement is very bad for our bodies, our muscles waste away quickly and this affects our strength and our balance. Our muscles, bones and joints like to be moved, even though they might creak and groan a bit. 

Discuss any concerns about your exercise ability with your healthcare team or GP if you feel it is needed. Do not wait as exercise is a very important part of your preparation for and ability to complete any treatment. 

Before you start moving more  

If you are unsteady on your feet or if you have had a fall before, you should take extra care when moving around. We want you to be active, but we don’t want you to fall or injure yourself.  Ask your keyworker or other healthcare professional about services in your local area for extra support if you feel this is needed.

 

Useful tips: 

  • Try to avoid long periods of sitting and find ways to build movement into your day.   
  • Wear non-slip and supportive shoes.   
  • Start small and gradually increase your activity levels.   
  • Use something sturdy and solid for support (for example a kitchen work surface).  
  • Try brisk walking, or jogging on the spot or around your garden: cleaning, dancing, gardening or playing with your children can all help. Use of a diary, pedometer or smartphone may help with your motivation. 
  • Feeling your muscles work or feeling a slight muscle soreness the next day is normal. Do not let it put you off.  
  • If you have acute pain anywhere then stop and rest.  
  • Try not to hold your breath, breathe normally throughout.  
  • Aim for 3-5 sessions of 20-30 minutes per week. This can be broken down into smaller 10 minute sessions if you prefer. 

 

Useful resources:

The links below will provide ideas for physical activity and exercise for you to do at home. Keep a diary of your achievements to share with your healthcare team.  

Exercising with arthritis
NHS Exercise videos  
NHS Exercise guides
Easy Exercise Guide from Chartered Society of Physiotherapy  

There are also a range of mobile phone Apps available to download from Google Play or the Apple App Store - visit our Lifestyle Apps and Resources page here

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