Disease Self-Management

Physical activity in the form of regular, moderate exercise maintains joint health, relieves symptoms, improves functions, reduces joint swelling, increases pain threshold, and improves energy levels (2). Several effective physical activity programs are available for people with arthritis and other chronic illnesses.

Weight loss of an average of 11 pounds can reduce the risk of knee osteoarthritis by as much as 50%. 4 Physical activity and a low fat diet are key to weight management (2).

1. Kruger JMS, Helmick CG, Callahan LF, Haddix AC. Cost effectiveness of the Arthritis Self-Help Course. Arch Intern Med 1998; 158:1245-9.

2. Arthritis Foundation, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Arthritis Action Plan: A Public Health Strategy. Atlanta, GA. Arthritis Foundation, 1999.

3. Doyle A, Farrar V, Ryan, Sisol S. An evaluation of PACE (People with Arthritis Can Exercise). Arthritis Care Res 1990; 3:S7.

4. Felson DT, Zhang Y, Anthony JM, Naimark A, Anderson JJ. Weight loss reduces the risk for symptomatic knee osteoarthritis in women. The Framinghan Study. Ann Intern Med 1992; 116:535-9.

Living Well Alabama

Living Well Alabama is a self-management course designed to help individuals live and cope with chronic conditions. Dealing with constant pain and loss of good health may lead to feelings of anger, isolation and even depression. With Living Well Alabama, you'll gain the skills needed to take control of your chronic condition and live life to the fullest.

This program is designed for individuals who are at risk for chronic conditions; have just been diagnosed with a chronic condition; or are currently living with an uncontrolled chronic condition. The program is taught for two hours a week over a six-week period, and is open to those suffering chronic health conditions as well as their family, friends and caregivers.

Arthritis Foundation Walk With Ease Program

Arthritis Foundation Walk With Ease Program has been shown to reduce pain, increase balance and strength, and improve overall health. Classes are led by a certified instructor, these one-hour classes meet three times per week for six weeks and are designed to be relaxing and enjoyable. The Walk With Ease Program will help motivate you, teach you to walk safely and comfortably, improve your flexibility, strength and stamina, and reduce pain.

Arthritis Foundation Aquatics Program

The Arthritis Foundation Aquatics Program was co-developed with the YMCA of USA in 1983 and is reviewed and revised as necessary every three years. It has two levels, basic and advanced plus. The classes are held in a warm water pool, are provided for approximately one hour, and are held one to three times per week for six to 10 weeks. Classes are taught by health and fitness leaders who have attended an 8- to 10-hour workshop. Although the classes are held in the water, swimming ability is not necessary to participate in the program. The exercises include range-of-motion and muscle-strengthening exercises and if appropriate for the group, a moderate-intensity aerobic component to build endurance.

Visit the Arthritis Foundation for program resources.

Page last updated: April 9, 2017