Washington, Apr 9 : Debunking the myth that exercising can worsen arthritis symptoms, a new study has found that regular physical activity can actually be a natural pain reliever for the patients.
The study has found that regular exercise, especially with the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program can effectively improve and manage arthritis pain.
Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program was developed in 1987 to reduce pain and stiffness by keeping joints flexible and muscles strong.
The researchers conducted randomised controlled trials over 346 individuals with arthritis, where they were asked to exercise twice weekly for one hour for eight weeks.
The participants had experienced a decrease in pain and fatigue, increase in upper and lower extremity function, and an increase in strength after participating in the basic exercise program.
Moreover patients who continued to exercise independently even after eight weeks had sustained improvement in reduced stiffness.
"The study showed that the exercise program is suitable for every fitness level, even inactive older individuals," said Leigh Callahan lead author, Ph.D., Thurston Arthritis Research Centre, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"Many people believe the myth that exercise exacerbates their symptoms. The truth revealed in the study is that symptoms improved with exercise," he added.
"Even minor lifestyle changes like taking a 10-minute walk three times a day can reduce the impact of arthritis on a person's daily activities and help to prevent developing more painful arthritis," said Dr Patience White, chief public health officer of the Arthritis Foundation.
"Physical activity can actually reduce pain naturally and decrease dependence on pain medications," he added.
The study is published in Arthritis Care and Research journal