Strengthening and balancing the musculature around affected joints minimises the load through the joint, which can greatly reduce arthritic pain and improve ease of movement.

Your Accredited Exercise Physiologist will be able to determine which muscles are not supporting the joint adequately and will guide you through the correct exercises to improve this.

Here at Activate Health we are passionate about providing top quality Exercise Physiology to ensure all our clients receive the care and outcomes they deserve and work for.  Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEPs) are trained to provide evidence-based exercise interventions to individuals at high risk of developing, or with existing, chronic conditions and injuries. Exercise is clinically proven and recommended to manage OA. Research shows that exercise benefits induvial with wide range of OA severities. Exercise has been shown to be just as effective as pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication in relieving symptoms of OA. Using exercise as a medicine our AEPs can:-

  • Decrease pain;
  • Increase muscle strength;
  • Improve range of movement (ROM);
  • Improve balance;
  • Prevent deconditioning (loss of fitness and muscle wasting);
  • Improve physical function; and
  • Improve general wellbeing.


Recommendation for people suffering with OA are to exercise 4 – 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes. It is important to exercise slowly and progress gradually. Strength and aerobic exercise are recommended forms for people with OA. Hydrotherapy (water) exercise is highly recommended for people with OA, as the water buoyancy minuses the load placed on  the joints and reduces pain on weight-bearing. It is highly recommended that before starting exercise you receive a comprehensive assessment by an AEP to ensure safe exercise procedures are followed.


Talk to your Doctor today and ask about having a Care Plan referral completed for visits to come and speak with an AEP form Activate Health, we fully bulk bill all care plan appointments. We also take private bookings which most health funds will cover part of the payments. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any enquires.

Research shows that arthritis sufferers are more likely to be inactive, overweight and have multiple health conditions. Three out of four Australians with arthritis have other chronic health conditions. In particular, 44 per cent of arthritis sufferers have cardiovascular disease, 32 per cent are obese, and 22 per cent are diagnosed with a mental health problem.

Experiencing other health conditions with arthritis is linked to poorer health outcomes, reduced quality of life and makes arthritis more complex and challenging to treat. Some forms of arthritis such as lupus can also affect other organs including the kidneys, heart, nervous system and skin, causing a variety of symptoms such as ulcers, visual disturbances and hair loss.

Some risk factors that are common to all chronic health conditions including arthritis are smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and obesity. Maintaining overall health is therefore very important to reduce the risk of developing arthritis but also to prevent all chronic health conditions.

Why arthritis develops and how it can be prevented is not fully understood. The best way to prevent arthritis is to take steps to manage the known risk factors that contribute to it developing in the first place. These include inactivity, poor nutrition and obesity. Eating a balanced diet, participating in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy stable weight and not smoking are all important. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce the impact of arthritis and prevent the symptoms from worsening.

Early diagnosis is also linked to better arthritis outcomes, ensuring treatment starts as soon as possible. This means symptoms are managed early, potentially reducing the impact on a person’s quality of life.

Physiotherapy plays an important role in self-management of arthritis. As there is no cure, the aim of treatment is to manage pain, keep joints mobile and help people stay active and healthy by developing safe, personalised exercise programs. They can also help by providing joint protection advice.


Physical activity and exercise is the best treatment regardless of how severe arthritis is. Some people successfully manage their arthritis with exercise alone, avoiding the need for surgery. Exercise is also vital for preventing or managing other chronic health conditions.

Below are some different types of exercise a physiotherapist can prescribe:

Strengthening exercise involves using weights, resistance bands, or body weight to increase muscle strength. Stronger muscles help support and protect joints making it easier to stay mobile and active.

Flexibility exercise involves stretches and gently moving the joint to reduce stiffness.

Aerobic exercise is any exercise that increases your heart rate and maintains general fitness and heart health.

Hydrotherapy is strengthening, aerobic and flexibility exercises completed in a pool, which is often heated. It can be beneficial because water supports the weight of your body, reducing the impact on your joints. Water can also provide greater resistance, further strengthening your muscles.

How can I start exercising?

When starting regular exercise it can be hard to know what to do, what level to start at and how to stay motivated. Fitness levels and symptoms vary from person to person so it’s important to be guided by your physiotherapist to make sure the exercise is tailored to you. It is essential to start slow and increase gradually as fitness and strength improves. To see the benefits, exercise must be completed regularly and incorporated it into your daily routine.

Exercise and pain

Many people avoid using their painful joints for fear of making their arthritis worse, but this will not happen. When we don’t move joints they become stiffer and the muscles less supportive. Over time, without regular exercise your joints can become more painful. As many people with arthritis experience joint pain constantly, exercising when in pain is unavoidable but with regular exercise pain can reduce over time. As a guide, tolerable pain before or during exercise is common, expected and most often harmless. Pain that is un-tolerable or beyond a person’s normal level indicates exercise should be reduced.

Joint protection advice and pain relieving strategies

A physiotherapist will provide advice on techniques to reduce pain like using hot or cold packs, selecting appropriate footwear or using a walking stick or hand splint. They can also provide guidance on how to pace activities to limit pain flares and recommend ways to do things without causing strain to the joints.

Guidelines recommend exercise for all people with arthritis, irrespective of arthritis type, pain or severity. However, if you suffer from an acute flare of gout, other methods such as medication and ice are recommended. Evidence shows regular exercise is one of the most effective non-surgical treatments for all types of arthritis as it reduces pain, improves function and keeps joints moving. As well as improving symptoms, exercise is vital for weight management and general health, both very important to lessen the impact of arthritis.

For osteoarthritis of the knee, hip and hand there is considerable evidence showing strengthening exercises and physical activity reduces joint pain, stiffness and improves overall long term function to the same extent that medication can, but without the side effects of pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs.

For rheumatoid arthritis, evidence shows moderate to high intensity exercise (both aerobic and muscle strengthening) improves muscle strength and general fitness in the short term, and that these benefits can be maintained with longer-term exercise.

To see long-term exercise benefits research highlights that exercise must involve a regular routine and long-term commitment.

Everyone experiences arthritis pain differently and the level of pain relief you may get from exercise will also vary from person to person. As a general guide, if you complete your exercises regularly as prescribed by your physiotherapist you will be rewarded with increased strength, improved function and reduced pain after several weeks. The key is to be committed to doing the exercises regularly.