Updated June 15, 2008

Here are the correct answers.

1. Before you start a new exercise routine to reduce your joint pain, you should:
a. Join a gym
b. Find a workout partner
c. Talk to your doctor
d. Buy new sneakers

Answer: c. Talk to your doctor.
It is wise for anyone to talk to a doctor before starting an exercise regime, but its especially important if your joints are injured by arthritis and your fitness level is low from taking it easy to stay out of pain. Ask about exercise time and weight limits, motivational support, and appropriate after-exercise pain treatment.

2. The goal of exercising to help your arthritis should be to improve your:
a. Flexibility
b. Strength
c. Cardiovascular health
d. All of the above

Answer: d. All of the above.
Exercise will help improve your joints' range of motion, strengthen the muscles around the joints (which protects them and improves function), increase your aerobic fitness, and help you lose weight (which reduces the stress on your joints).

3. One of the best ways to stick to your exercise goals is to:
a. Join a group
b. Exercise at the same time every day
c. Work out in the morning
d. Join a gym

Answer: a. Join a group.
Group participation is an important motivator for people who want to begin exercising, losing weight, and changing their habits. Arthritis, like any chronic pain condition, can be an isolating disease, so finding support will not only help you achieve your fitness goals, but it will also help you tackle this disease. Ask arthritis clinics, community centers, physical therapy clinics, and gyms to recommend group programs.

4. True or False: Yoga is often a good exercise for people with arthritis.
a. True
b. False

Answer: a. True.
Although yoga often conjures images of difficult postures requiring expert execution, beginning-level yoga classes emphasize stretching, whole-body well-being, and group practice—which can all be relevant to some arthritis sufferers. Few studies have been done, but the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center recommends yoga to its patients.

5. Which of the following sports was found in recent research to benefit some people with arthritis?
a. Boxing
b. Tennis
c. Swimming
d. Jai alai

Answer: c. Swimming.
A small 2007 Australian study found "significant" benefits from swimming because it is low-impact and supports the body. Check with your local community center, YMCA, or a nearby pool for arthritis-focused facilities and sessions.

6. Before exercising, people with arthritis should:
a. Apply ice packs to joints
b. Apply gentle heat to joints

Answer: b. Apply gentle heat to joints.
The Mayo Clinic's arthritis center advises a 20-minute joint-warming routine before you begin—warm towels, hot packs, etc. This, says the center, may be followed by a post-exercise ice-pack cooldown. Go easy: Neither the heat nor the cold should be painful.

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