September Is Canada’s Arthritis Awareness Month

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Canadians with arthritis think physical activity could be harmful, poll finds

Canadians with arthritis are urged to get moving during Arthritis Awareness Month

September 1, 2009 (Toronto, ON) – Almost two-thirds of Canadians struggling with arthritis believe that physical activity poses the risk of aggravating their symptoms, according to a recent poll commissioned by The Arthritis Society. This percentage was considerably higher than the general population who responded at 46 per cent, as indicated by the Ipsos Reid survey.

“As long as this misperception persists, many Canadians with arthritis will be reluctant to include physical activity as part of their treatment program,” says Steven McNair, President and CEO of The Arthritis Society. “We are using Arthritis Awareness Month in September to spread the message that active living can be sustained by most people with arthritis and is vital to their long-term health.”

Arthritis, among the leading causes of disability in Canada, affects nearly 4.5 million people of every age and ethnic background. Arthritis can be caused by joint inflammation or joint degeneration. People with arthritis often find that their ability to perform daily tasks is limited due to the effects of the disease and often become less active in an attempt to keep their joints as comfortable as possible. In fact, inactivity can lead to a loss of strength, reduced flexibility and more pain. While there is currently no cure for arthritis, exercise plays an important role in treating the disease and minimizing damage to the joints.

“The benefits of physical activity for people with arthritis are remarkable,” notes Dr. Joanne Homik, Chair of The Arthritis Society’s Medical Advisory Committee. “Exercise protects joints by strengthening the muscles around them. Strong muscles and tissues support those joints that have been weakened and damaged by arthritis. A properly designed program of physical activity reduces joint pain and fatigue, improves mobility and overall fitness, and alleviates depression. I tell people with arthritis that, ultimately, when they stay physically active, they can have a more productive, enjoyable life.”

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Physical Activity & ArthritisPhysical Activity & Arthritis
To help Canadians with arthritis make active living part of their daily routine, The Arthritis Society has just published a new Physical Activity & Arthritis booklet.

This free resource, available in print and online, includes valuable tips and a detailed list of physical activities and exercises that are recommended for people with arthritis and joint pain.

Before starting any new exercise program, always check with your health-care provider to ensure you are physically ready.

The Arthritis SocietyThe mission of The Arthritis Society is to search for the underlying causes and subsequent cures for arthritis, and to promote the best possible care and treatment for people with arthritis. Our vision is “A World without Arthritis”.

Founded in 1948, The Arthritis Society is Canada’s leading charitable organization devoted solely to funding and promoting arthritis research, programs and patient care.

The Arthritis Society is the primary provider of information and education for people living with arthritis in Canada. Canadians can contact the Arthritis Information Line at 1.800.321.1433 or visit The Arthritis Society’s website at to get the vital information they need about their disease.