Important message for arthritis sufferers... regular exercise helps, not hurts. If you're living with arthritis, it's time to get off the couch and get moving.
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News Canada, Information for life. Sherri Dmyterko: Alice Larkin is living with arthritis, and well sometimes, it can be hard to get moving, she makes it a priority to exercise everyday. Alice Larkin: Well, you need to get up and exercise. I find it's better for me, for my back, and for my fingers. I am crouching, I am walking, I am swimming, and I find it's a lot better than sitting around because I am sure you would feel the pain of arthritis is a lot more if you just sat around. So you have to keep active. Sherri Dmyterko: Recent study suggest that people with arthritis benefit from regular exercise. It doesn't cause further damage to joints and bones as some people believe. A natural fact, 'activity is good to reduce overall pain.' But when arthritis patients were asked why they weren't exercising, a separate study found three common answers. It included cold weather, or lack of available programs, and pain. Physiotherapist and author Karen Webb says, 'There isn't any excuse to not exercise even in the gloomy days of winter.' She says that you can be active at home, it's easy and doesn't take any special equipment. Karen Webb: When you have arthritis, it is so important to stay active year round. Regular exercise keeps joints flexible, and muscles strong, and staying fit does not have to be complicated. In fact, you can create your own tone at home, exercise kit using items you already have on hand. You can use soup cans for hand weights, belts to help with stretches, and simple bath towel as an exercise mat. Sherri Dmyterko: Along with regular exercise, it is a good idea to speak with your doctor about effective treatments now available to control pain and inflammation. Karen Webb: If you find you are reaching for that back or frozen piece often because of pain and inflammation, you might consider seeing your doctor. There are safe and effective therapies like Celebrex that can help people with arthritis. Get their joint pain and inflammation under control, and get back to regular exercise. Sherri Dmyterko: Not all therapies work for everyone. So people with arthritis or joint pain and inflammation should talk to their doctor about finding a treatment that works for them, and don't forget that before, during, and after exercise, you need to hydrate by drinking water. Sherri Dmyterko reporting.

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