June 14, 2012
'Moving Is the Best Medicine' launched to inform and motivate people with arthritis on benefits of physical activity
Dublin, 14 June 2012: Arthritis Ireland today teamed up with Irish hockey captain Nikki Symmons and Operation Transformation star Dr Eddie Murphy to call on people living with arthritis to get active as they launched the 'Moving Is the Best Medicine' campaign. This exciting new initiative, developed by Arthritis Ireland in partnership with Pfizer, will see the roll out of a series of motivating and inspiring 'Exercise Made Easy' seminars around the country as well as the publication of an information booklet on 'Physical Activity and Arthritis'.
Physical activity is proven to be a vital part of managing arthritis. As well as reducing pain and inflammation, keeping active improves joint support and lubrication, helps with weight control and has many other health benefits. However, a recent survey, conducted by Arthritis Ireland, revealed a worrying level of misunderstanding surrounding the area with almost two thirds (64%) of people admitting that they avoid regular activity due to high levels of pain or for fear of worsening their arthritis.
With this in mind, Arthritis Ireland has developed the 'Moving Is the Best Medicine' campaign to raise awareness that even a little bit of physical activity, whether its walking to work instead of driving or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can make a big difference to the quality of life of people with arthritis. It is recommended that people with arthritis are active for at least 30 minutes five times a week and the 'Physical Activity and Arthritis' booklet includes detailed information on building and maintaining a regime.
Irish hockey captain Nikki Symmons, who is Ireland's most capped player with 178 appearances, has osteoarthritis in both her hips. However, she considers regular exercise to be an essential part of how she manages her condition. "Coming back from two operations on my hips, I have found that low impact exercise, like cycling, swimming and aqua jogging in the pool, has played a major part in my recovery and has certainly helped to prolong my hockey career," Nikki, aged 29 from Delgany, Co Wicklow, said. "Although sometimes arthritis pain makes you feel like avoiding exercise, getting your recommended dose of physical activity really is important as it helps to relieve pain and inflammation and reduce stiffness."
Operation Transformation psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy, who is heading up a number of expert speakers at the 'Exercise Made Easy' motivational and exercise seminars, said that taking part in regular physical activity becomes more straightforward when people overcome their mental barriers. Dr Murphy, who has over 20 years experience working as a clinical psychologist with the HSE, said: "We all know exercise is good for us, particularly if you have arthritis, but it's not always easy to get started and stay motivated. My job is to focus on adopting the right attitude and I'm certain that people will leave the 'Exercise Made Easy' seminars feeling motivated and confident in their ability to achieve their exercise goal, while also being equipped to deal with the occasional setback along the way."
Arthritis Ireland's Nichola Mullen said: "The 'Moving Is the Best Medicine' campaign is designed to provide people with arthritis with the information, motivation and support they require to be physically active on a regular basis. As well as the different types of conventional exercise, like walking, swimming and cycling, physical activity also accounts for household, workplace and lifestyle activities, like gardening or cleaning."
Dublin consultant rheumatologist, Doug Veale said: "When living with a chronic condition, such as arthritis, it is important that to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a balanced diet but also staying active on a regular basis to keep a healthy weight and reduce stress on affected joints. I would urge patients to speak to their healthcare team about the exercise options that are most suited to their requirements."
Yvonne D'Arcy of Pfizer Healthcare Ireland said: "We are delighted to support the 'Moving Is the Best Medicine' campaign which encourages patients to make physical activity a central part of their arthritis treatment."
The two upcoming 'Exercise Made Easy' seminars, which are admission-free events, will take place on June 26th in the Granville Hotel, Waterford at 7:30pm and June 27th in the Carlton Hotel, Tralee, Co Kerry at 7:30pm. For more information or to pre-order the 'Physical Activity and Arthritis' information booklet, people can contact the Arthritis Ireland helpline on 1890252846 or visit www.arthritisireland.ie.