Physical activity: what's all the fuss about?

It is really important for children with JIA to keep active. Muscles and joints need to be used regularly to maintain their function, so sports and keeping physically active help keep the joints and whole body healthy. When children have had JIA for a while they might not be using their muscles properly, meaning the muscles become weaker, which causes extra aches and pains.

Children and young people don’t have to give up sport because of JIA. For advice about how to start and build activity levels up, please speak to the physiotherapist in the team at the clinic. They may advise on specific exercises to help your child to be skilled and imaginative with the activities and sports they enjoy. These can include group and individual sports, dance, cycling, swimming and martial arts.

For children and young people with arthritis it is even more important that they are active. Activity will help keep them healthy and develop the best muscles to support their joints. They should be encouraged to participate in PE and activities at school and home. This will build their fitness levels up, support good self-esteem and allow them to keep up with their peers.

When starting any exercise, you will need to gradually increase the time you exercise or are active for. It is also normal to feel achy after you work your  muscles as they are getting stronger. Try to incorporate exercise into your child's week and spread across the days to pace the activities outside of school or nursery.