Move to Improve Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases

Share Article

American College of Rheumatology celebrates World Arthritis Day

The American College of Rheumatology joins organizations from around the world in celebrating World Arthritis Day. Held every year on October 12, this year’s theme is “Move to Improve” – focusing on using physical activity to combat arthritis and rheumatic diseases – such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout and psoriatic arthritis.

An estimated 50 million Americans — including nearly 300,000 children — are affected by arthritis and rheumatic diseases. People with these diseases who are inactive can have a variety of health risks, including type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, decreased pain tolerance, weak muscles, stiff joints and poor balance common to many forms of arthritis can be made worse by inactivity.

Conversely, those who are physically active benefit from exercise and can experience improvement in pain, energy, sleep, and day-to-day functioning. In addition, people who are physically active are healthier, happier and live longer than those who are inactive and unfit, and this is especially true for people with arthritis. Despite these facts, arthritis is one of the most common reasons people give for limiting physical activity and recreational pursuits.

“Many people with arthritis and rheumatic diseases suffer from joint pain and stiffness, which can cause a person to avoid exercise out of the fear of increasing their pain or causing injury,” says ACR President and practicing rheumatologist, David Borenstein, MD. “However, exercise — when properly planned and safely executed — can do just the opposite.”

To create a safe, realistic and customized exercise plan, the ACR offers six tips:

  •     Start by consulting with your rheumatologist.
  •     Set realistic short and long term goals, and reward yourself when you have achieved them.
  •     Exercise with a friend or family member.
  •     Keep an exercise log or chart your progress on a calendar.
  •     Create several exercise options and locations to keep from becoming bored.
  •     Identify problems or obstacles that are likely to get in the way of your exercise program and plan ahead how you will deal with them.
  •     Choose activities that are convenient, relatively inexpensive and fun.

“While there is no cure for arthritis, a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise can improve quality of life” explains Dr. Borenstein. “And, exercising can be very motivating and one of the easiest ways to combat pain from arthritis and rheumatic diseases.”

In addition to celebrating World Arthritis Day, the ACR partners with the Arthritis Foundation on its Ad Council campaign to help people age 55 and up who have, or are at risk for developing, osteoarthritis discover movement as a weapon in the fight against arthritis. The campaign, "Fight Arthritis Pain," was created to increase the public’s awareness that there are simple steps everyone can take to prevent and decrease the pain and disability of OA.

For more information about the ACR and rheumatology, visit For more information about the World Arthritis Day, visit

The American College of Rheumatology is an international professional medical society that represents more than 8,000 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals around the world. Its mission is to advance rheumatology. For more information, visit or follow ACR on Twitter at


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Suzanne Forte
American College of Rheumatology
(404) 633-3777
Email >
Visit website