Rheumatology: diet and exercise

Your health is your responsibility.

We can advise you about your medications; here are some links and tips to help you look after the rest.

Eatwell plate 200Diet

You are in control of your diet.

Choose it with care and moderation.

Remember enough is as good as a feast.

Too much is worse than nothing at all.

Top tips

  • Plan your meals in advance
  • Steer clear of ready meals by cooking food from scratch
  • Foods high in sugar and fat should be eaten in moderation
  • Check food labels to monitor your daily calorie, salt and sugar intake
  • Regulate your portion sizes - man of us eat more than we need at each meal
  • Eat three good meals per day, trying not to snack in between

For more about healthy eating please see the NHS website: The eatwell plate (http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/

NHS logo 141x82Healthy weight calculator

NHS BMI (body mass indicator) Healthy Weight Calculator (www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/

Further information

Healthy eating and arthritis 200Healthy eating and arthritis

This booklet is a comprehensive guide to foods and supplements linked to helping improve the effects of arthritis.

Health eating and arthritis booklet (http://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/


Exercise is a major part of treating rheumatological conditions.

It is also essential for maintaining a healthy body and mind.

Top tips 

  • Set yourself targets and gradually increase.
    This will help motivate you and push yourself to improve.
  • Get into a routine - designate certain days of the week for certain exercise. This way you will make time to work out, even during a busy week
  • Give yourself a break.
    Try to leave at least one day between work outs. It is important to rest and recover.
  • Exercise with friends.
    If you're in it together you can support, motivate and even compete with each other.

Good ways to exercise


A low resistance, full body work out.

Warm swimming pool water will relax and ease stiff muscles and joints.

Try different strokes, swim lengths or an aqua aerobics class.


Great for building strength in your muscles.

Pilates relieves tension by mixing yoga techniques with strengthening exercises.

Go to classes with friends or exercise from home with a DVD.


The relaxation, breathing and stretching exercises in yoga are excellent for de-stressing and improving your flexibility.

This gentle form of exercise can be accessed through classes, DVDs and even apps.

Exercise and arthritis 200

Exercise and arthritis

This booklet is a comprehensive guide devised with and for people with arthritis.

Exercise and arthritis booklet (www.arthritiscare.org.uk/

Exercise With the Rheumatology Department

We have created three sets of exercise programmes (low, medium and high intensity), which are suitable for all and can easily be done at home.

Rheumatology video still 200Level 1: Sitting Excercises

We all need to move.

The 'Two Minute Stretch' sitting exercises programme is a good place to start if you're feeling particularly stiff and in pain.

Watch the Two Minute Stretch video and download the Two Minute Stretch leaflet to get started.

Level 2: Exercise walkway

Try these medium intensity exercises at home three times a week.

The walkway is designed to improve your balance, muscle flexibility and joint movement.

These exercises should only take 10 minutes at a time.

You will also see these exercises in the corridor outside the Osprey department when you come for your Rheumatology outpatient appointment.

Please download the Exercise Walkway leaflet.

Progressive Resistance 200

Level 3: Progressive resistence therapy

You may have been referred to the progressive resistance exercise scheme by your rheumatologist.

This is an exercise class designed and run by physiotherapists.

It's part of your treatment and will improve your fitness, muscle tone and strength, and target problem joints in a safe environment.

Lots of patients feel a big improvement in health and fitness after participating in the class.

If you haven't been referred, you can feel the same benefits by trying similar exercises from home three times per week.

Download the Progressive Resistance Exercise Sheet to get going.

Rheumatology exercisesMore exercises for problem joints

Please download these leaflets:

Further information

Arthritis UK Logo 200For more information please also see the Arthritis UK website: Exercise and arthritis (www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/arthritis-and-daily-life/exercise-and-arthritis.aspx).



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