Activities and Exercise

Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle benefits us in many different ways: it allows us to get better sleep, it teaches us discipline, it helps us connect with others, it can get us fresh air, and it can also have remarkable healing effects on the body including anti-inflammatory effects. Regular exercise encourages us to put our bodies through their full range of motion and, when done safely and within your limits, can relieve tension in tight muscles and improve balance, strength and stability. There is strong research evidence to suggest that if you have arthritis, strengthening exercises will allow you to keep doing the things that are important to you.

Find something that you enjoy doing

It is essential for our health that we find something that we enjoy doing, as this will help motivate us in the first place. It’s important to start slow, and gradually build up tolerance levels. It is much better to take time moving comfortably through exercises than forcing the body to do things it is not ready or able to cope with at this time. For example, if you are trying to improve walking distance, it is best to start with 50% of the distance you know that you can comfortably do. You can then try to achieve this distance daily or several days per week before increasing the distance slightly each week. This method reduces the chance of flare ups which is important to ensure steady gains in fitness.

Not sure where to start

If you are thinking about becoming more active, but are not sure where to start, here are some top tips we recommend:

  • Find something you enjoy doing
  • Find someone who would be willing to join you
  • Consider joining a beginner’s class and let the organiser know of any questions or concerns
  • Start slow and build up 
  • Try and stick to the same days and times each week to build routine

You might have concerns about starting a new exercise if you haven’t properly exercised in a while, or you might have bothersome areas that you are worried might be hurt. In any case, it is often better to start by regularly stretching and performing strength and mobility exercises at home. It is natural to feel like this but at the same time appreciate that with arthritis it is normal to experience some discomfort during and after exercise for up to an hour. This often decreases in time as strength improves. Research tells us that strengthening, or resistance training is very safe in arthritis, providing there isn’t very active inflammation in the joints. Even with very active inflammation in joints, small amounts of gentle stretching exercises are still safe.

Target specific areas of the body

As well as general exercise such as walking, cycling and gardening etc. you may also wish to consider specific exercises for particular areas of your body which you can do at home or in a gym. Our team have put together a list of resources below that we believe are a great place to start if you want to focus on a particular area.


If you have any questions or would like to speak with one of our physiotherapists further, you can self-refer to our physiotherapy team. Please call the number below.

Rheumatology department: 01592 643 355 ext 21381

Hand/Wrist - SARAH Program access code 1705

Rehabilitation exercises






Balance and falls prevention

Strength and balance

OTAGO Falls Prevention exercise program

Fife Falls Response Service -

Community alarm request form

Chronic and widespread pain

NHS Inform: Chronic pain self help guide

Understanding chronic pain in 5 minutes

Explaining Pain: Taming the Beast -

Steps to Deal with Stress

NHS Inform: Sleep problems and insomnia self help guide

External links

Fife Sports and Leisure Trust

Bums off seats Walking group

Cycling without age: Cycling group

Get Fit Falkland:Couch to 5k run

Leven Las Vegas: Couch to 5k runs

Jogging and Running Coaching:Jog Scotland Dunfermline:

Park Run: Organised Runs in Local Parks