Does your weight affect Arthritis? 

The simple answer is yes. Extra body weight puts extra stress on many joints, particularly the knees, hips and lower back. The more weight that is carried, the more pressure is put on these joints which can increase pain, and possibly hasten the deterioration of cartilage.

There is also a strong link between being overweight and an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis. If you are overweight, losing weight will decrease the stress on your joints, which in turn, can reduce pain and make it easier for you to move around.

Keeping your weight in check has numerous benefits when you have arthritis, making it an important modifiable risk factor. To learn more about the benefits of being a healthy weight and to get practical weight loss tips – read on and don’t forget to register for our webinar on 13 June 2023 or watch the recording that take a deeper dive into weight loss & diet.

What are the benefits for Arthritis? 

Reduces pressure on your joints and improves joint function

It is estimated that for every kilo of excess weight we carry, an extra load of 4kgs is put on our knee joints. Add an incline, and the pressure is even greater. By losing, as little as 5% of your body weight, can ease the pressure and improve joint function.

Eases pain and inflammation

Fat is an active tissue that creates and releases pro-inflammatory chemicals and hormones that can affect joint tissue and increase pain. Research has shown that by reducing just a small amount of body fat can help reduce inflammation in the body.

Joint surgery benefits

If you require joint replacement surgery, reducing weight prior to joint replacement surgery can offer several benefits and lower your risk of surgical complications including infection. In addition, by strengthening and losing weight, your rehabilitation is going to be easier on the rest of your body. Reducing body weight prior to entering a rehabilitation plan can help surgery outcomes significantly.

Cuts risk of chronic diseases – such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke

Research also shows that people with some form of arthritis are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, making the need to control weight all the more critical. Studies have shown that losing weight can lower your blood pressure into a healthy range. In addition, eating right and engaging in physical activity that leads to weight loss can also lower your cholesterol.

Where to begin with Weight Loss!

Weight loss can be tricky but below are some strategies that are key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Food Matters!

What you eat is key to achieving a healthy weight… for life! There are so many diets it can be confusing to determine which is the right one for you, but as long as you are including a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, lean protein sources and healthy fats you are on the right track. Adopting a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet is essential for weight management. How many serves you should be eating of these very important food groups vary for everyone, but a good rule of thumb is provided here in the Eat for Health Website, you can also check out some meal plans and recipes that are great for weight loss!

How much do we need each day? | Eat For Health

Another tip for preventing weight gain, make sure you try to minimise or avoid highly processed foods, sugary snacks, and those sugar sweetened beverages. These foods and beverages are not only easy to overindulge but contain high amounts of calories which can lead to weight gain over time.

To know how many calories you should be eating, you should consult with a registered dietitian or weight loss specialist who will be able to help you figure out how much you need for your weight loss goals.

Find a local Dietitian 


Engaging in regular physical activity not only aids in weight loss but also strengthens muscles, improves joint stability, and enhances overall fitness. It is one of the best treatments for arthritis. Generally you will need to do a mix of:

  • flexibility: to maintain or improve the mobility of your joints and muscles. Examples include moving the joint as far as it can, muscle stretches and yoga.
  • muscle strengthening: strong muscles help to support and take pressure off sore joints, strengthen bones and improve balance. An example is using weights, resistance bands or gym machines.
  • fitness: to improve the health of your heart and lungs. These activities usually use the larger muscles in the body, rather than exercising a specific area, and may make you ‘puff’ a little. An example is brisk walking.

Make sure you consult with a healthcare professional before starting any exercise program to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your condition.

Find a local Physiotherapist

Find a local Exercise Physiologist

You can also download the printable  Physical Activity information sheet here. 

ANSW Exercises Resources
Goal Setting

The most important part of weight loss! Setting goals that you can achieve is important for making changes especially when it comes to eating healthier, moving more and improving your health. Setting specific and realistic goals will not only help you focus on behaviours and skills that you want to change, but keep you on the road to success! Goal setting is an important foundation for building that motivation and staying committed. Beginning a weight loss journey can be very challenging, but no diet or weight loss program will work until you have clearly defined goals.

Access a goal setting worksheet to start thinking about your own goals

  • Do you want to lose weight?
  • Do you want to eat more fruit?
  • Do you want to be more active?
  • Do want to be able to walk for longer periods of time?

Fill out the template to start thinking about what health goals you want to achieve. You can even bring this along to the webinar on the 13 June for when we take a deeper dive into weight loss, diet, and goal setting! Register in the link here to make sure you don’t miss out! Webinar Series Supported by Fisiocrem | Arthritis NSW

Mary Zagotsis
Health Educator
Arthritis NSW
31 May 2023