The Arthritis Newsletter

Summer 2013

Sticking to Your Plan- A patient’s perspective

By Lianne Gulka and Sheila Kerr. Edited Dr. Marie Westby BSc.PT, PhD and CAB member Alison Hoens PT, MSc


Hello summer holidays, good-bye weekly exercise plans? As different demands, changing energy levels and pain disrupt our normal schedules, how do we stay on track with our fitness?




The key is just to SHOW UP! Even though your energy is low, your feet hurt, (or you have other excuses) it’s better to just get out there and start SOMETHING!




Just showing up regularly, three or five or six days a week is more important than going once for a long workout … you are building a habit of exercising on a regular basis.




If walking briskly for 30 minutes is your usual PLAN A, but you are feeling fatigued or have sore feet, go to PLAN B.  This could include walking for 10 minutes twice a day or riding the stationary bike. Go to the pool and enjoy a leisurely breaststroke rather than an energetic front crawl. Much to your surprise, in the middle of your workout, you might see your energy level rise.




Even if its simple…just keep visual tabs on your participation…it’s a great motivator.


Week Sun. Mon. Tues Wed. Thurs. Fri. Sat.


The benefit you enjoy from maintaining or improving your fitness is the best reward!


Here is what the research recommends as your exercise level for health.


The target should be a total of 150 minutes per week. Research has shown that working in 10-minute intervals is sufficient. Try to build up your daily time to 30 minutes or more.


Aim for moderate exercise: It should feel somewhat hard, but not really hard. You should notice that you are breathing a little harder/little faster/little deeper, but you can still talk in full sentences.  (The goal is 3- 5 times as much energy as sitting at rest. Sitting at rest is measured as one Metabolic Equivalent or MET).


Examples are: bike riding at less than 10 km/hour for leisure or to work, gardening (clearing light brush, thinning garden), mowing the lawn, vacuuming, making beds, dancing, badminton, canoeing, exercise class, hiking, sailing, snorkeling, swimming, table tennis, stair climbing, weight training, yoga, circuit training at a moderate effort, walking a minimum of 2.5 mph on a level, firm surface up to walking, 4.0 mph on a level, firm surface at a very brisk pace, or using Nordic walking poles up to 3.5 to 4 mph, golf.


Add weight lifting or resistance training to your exercise plan. Learn more about that in future articles in the “Sticking to your Plan” series.



Brief Action Planning For Health Worksheet

Compendium of Physical Activities (updated 2011)


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