Hello from someone with arthritis

Jjudithbbrown Member Posts: 2
edited 29. Oct 2018, 07:56 in Living with Arthritis archive
I am 72 and was first diagnosed with arthritis 30 years ago. I lost weight and followed a VERY demanding physical activity schedule ever since. Despite having arthritis of my knees, hips, and spine I don't take regular painkillers and I am fit - I can run, cycle, lift weights, do yoga, without pain. I do have some issues with arthritis now after sitting and my physio has told me to INCREASE my activity (I already do 2 weight lifting classes, I yoga class, 2 spin classes, 1 dance class plus 1-1.5 hours in the gym doing stretch, cardiovascular, and weights every day but Saturday, when I have a rest. My family are great and fully support me and I love it. The problem is that friends of a similar age all keep telling me that I am doing too much. I tell them I have a great physio who is encouraging me to do more but they say he is wrong. This frustrates me as some of these friends are handicapped with arthritis and suffer more pain than I do and I don't make personal comments about their lack of activity linked to their joint replacements. What can I do to convince them?


  • daffy2
    daffy2 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Judith and welcome to the forum. There are many 'non-arthritics' half your age who wouldn't be able to manage that exercise regime so all credit to you. The simple answer in my view is that you can't alter the minds of those around you who are saying you do too much(despite presumably the evidence to the contrary), not least because I suspect that their opinions aren't based so much on the evidence as their emotional responses. For those who don't have that level of fitness(for whatever reason) it may be difficult seeing you achieving so much. Some of that may be guilt based, knowing that they could be but aren't more active, but some of it could be resentment or jealousy that their circumstances make for more limited activity levels.
    Your post suggests that you don't force your opinions on those around you; it would be nice if they would do likewise. We are all different and so comparisons are pointless; if you are happy, continue to be supervised by a competent professional,and your doctor doesn't have any concerns, then as far as I can see that's all that matters. The only caveat I would have is the issue of getting addicted to exercise - or rather the post-exercise high -possibly to the ignoring of indications that a rethink is necessary, but you/your physio presumably are aware of when that can cause problems.
    Something has just occurred to me - does your exercise schedule mean that you aren't as available 'socially' as those around you might like? That might b another source of negativity.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,730
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    It's lovely that your regime has worked so well for you for so long. Exercise is vital for any kind of arthritis but it has to be the right kind at the right time. For my RA the rule is strengthening exercises only when not flaring whereas the ROM ones should be continued with, gently, at all times.

    I would endorse all that daffy has written. From my long time on this forum I've come to realise that all types of arthritis vary enormously from one person to another. I consider myself very fortunate to have acquired a relatively slowly- progressing disease which responds well to treatment whereas others can have a very aggressive type which doesn't respond well to any DMARDS. My OA just chugs along. Like you, I eat healthily and exercise regularly. I'm sure this has helped enormously over the years though I could never manage as much as you do.

    It's natural to want to share good news with one's friends but what works for one won't necessarily work for another and maybe they started off in a worse situation than you with weaker bones and joints. Perhaps they have more commitments either to work or family. I know that my arthritis slows me down so much that I take infinitely longer to do the most prosaic of household tasks than my very healthy husband. I console myself with the thought that I'm getting more benefit physically than he is :lol:

    I wonder why your physio thinks you should do more exercise? You seem to have all bases covered as it is. Which joints is he hoping to help and are you not already exercising them?
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Your experience of arthritis is very different to mine, reading your detailed list of achievements makes me feel very inadequate. You remind me of a neighbour who told me a new hip would sort me out because that was her experience of arthritis (one affected joint and only one kind of arthritis too, lazy mare). You do not specify what kind of arthritis you have, it is not a one-size-fits-all word but is used as such especially by those who know very little about it.

    Obviously what you do works for you and that is a good thing, but what you do is beyond the abilities of many be they younger or your contemporaries. I do the best I can with what I have and will continue to do so. I wish you well. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • dalek
    dalek Member Posts: 32
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Wow! That is a lot of exercise.
    It sounds like the regime of a top athlete
    Quite surprised your physio is telling you to do more. Are they NHS or private?
  • Fionabee
    Fionabee Member Posts: 146
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    My husband took up running a couple of yrs ago when he was 59 with a Couch to 5K group based in our local park. He loves it, enjoys the activity & has met a lot of new people through it. There are several women well into their 60s who run with him 2 or 3 times a week, clocking up between 10 -15 K each week, I feel very humble around them! Of course I’ve been asked a couple of times why don’t I join them, well I think they might as well ask me to fly! I feel really embarrassed saying “well my knees aren’t too good & my back gives me a lot of trouble”. I have managed a wee fast walk/trot back to my seat after a trip to the loo at the cinema, but that’s it. I do walk regularly, it’s easier some days than others.
    The thing I have taken up this year is cycling, it feels so.....empowering. When I’m in the saddle my back doesn’t hurt & even my bad knee is ok, sometimes I don’t feel too great when I get off, takes a bit to get my balance & I can feel a bit wobbly. I’m a bit fair weather, only cycle when it’s dry & not blowing a gale & plan routes to avoid big hills. My challenge now is can I keep going through the winter. After feeling so defeated by other activities that have made me feel worse or just didn’t feel achievable, riding my bike has given me so much enjoyment.