Ways to add physical activity into your day-to-day routine

30 July 2023
Lynne and her dogs

Finding time to exercise can be tough. But there are small ways you can squeeze more movement into your daily routine, as and when you can. 

On the days you feel up to it, remember every little bit of physical activity matters – whether that means taking the steps, carrying your groceries, or even taking your dog for a stroll around your street. 

To help you get started, here are just a few tips to help you add physical activity into your routine if you have arthritis.  

Set a goal 

If you want to move more, setting a small, but meaningful, goal is a great first step.  

When you’re tired or in pain, we know it can be hard to get started. Tracey, 58, who has osteoarthritis says to remember that “1% is better than 0%.” 

“If you set yourself too big of a goal, it seems too big and unachievable. At my self-management course we say, ‘How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time.’” 

“One of my goals was to go back swimming every week. I love swimming, but I can’t do it if there's a ladder into the pool. So, the first step of my goal was to call around the leisure centres to see which ones had steps rather than a ladder.” 

Increase your step count

If you’re new to exercise, walking can be a great place to start. This is because it works the whole body without putting too much weight or strain on your joints. 

You don’t have to overdo it. If you’re starting out, why not walk to the end of your street or get off the bus a stop early?  


If the idea of a full yoga class seems too much, why not take just a few minutes to have a good, long stretch. If you don’t know where to begin, check out our stretching series, specially designed for people with arthritis. 

Each video is only 10-25 minutes long. There are videos for different parts of the body, as well as full body-stretching routines for the morning, afternoon and evening. 

Full body stretching: morning routine

Make the most of waiting time

There are plenty of times when we’re waiting for the kettle to boil or the TV adverts to be over. If you’re feeling up to it, this is the perfect time to squeeze in a bit of movement.  

Why not take five minutes to do some gentle exercises to help strengthen your joints? 

Set a reminder

It’s easy for the hours to slip by. If you have a desk job or often spend the evenings sitting down, why not try to set a reminder on your phone to get up and move about every 20-30 minutes?  

Use online videos

There are plenty of free online resources designed to help you move more. Best of all, you can use these whenever and wherever suits you best. 

Take our online exercise programme, Let’s Move with Leon. This free full body workout series is specially designed for people with arthritis. Each session is only 30-minutes long and you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Plus, there’s no need for any special equipment.  

Let's Move with Leon

Make it easy for yourself 

Want to go to a morning exercise class but struggling to find the time? Why not plan the night before? You could lay out your clothes and prepare your breakfast to make things a bit easier.  

You’re more likely to stay active if it’s convenient for you, so it might also help to pick a class that’s closer to your home. 

Connect with others

Exercising with others is a brilliant way to stay motivated. So, if you’re struggling to find the time to move more, why not ask a friend or family member to help? For instance, you could swap your usual coffee and catch-up, with a water aerobics class or a walk in the park. 

Make time for yourself

In our hectic lives, sometimes it’s hard to make time for physical activity, even when we know it would do us the world of good.  

But remember that staying as active as possible can reduce your pain and the symptoms of your condition and help you stay independent. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to de-stress and unwind. 

Even though it can be tough at times, staying active doesn’t have to be a chore. If you find the right exercise for you, it can actually be a lot of fun.  

So, why not make time for yourself and find a physical activity that works for you? You could go for a gentle walk, join a swimming class or simply add a few stretches to your morning routine. It’s a fantastic way to care for your body and mind. 

We’re here to help

If you need advice or support, you can: