4 Tips on Conserving Energy with Arthritis

By Orla Tiernan

Movement and exercise are important in managing arthritis, but striking the BALANCE Imagebetween rest and activity is the key. Sometimes when feeling tired or during a flare up it may be necessary to avoid or modify some everyday activities which can increase stress on joints, leading to pain and fatigue.

How can energy conservation help you?

Energy conservation involves taking a look at the methods and routines you have developed and deciding how you can better perform some everyday tasks.

Here are some practical ideas for applying energy conservation to your life:

1. Plan ahead 

The full day’s activities should be carefully planned to balance periods of rest with periods of work and to alternate active jobs with quiet ones.Rest is important to give your body time to repair itself, and improve your overall endurance.  It is important to save energy for essential tasks or that you enjoy doing.

Ask yourself…….

  • Is this task really necessary?
  • Is this the best way to do the task?
  • Is this the best time to do the task?
  • Am I the best person for the job?

Image2. Organise storage 

Everyday supplies and equipment should be stored within easy reach of where they are used and placed in the best position to grasp. This may mean reorganising the kitchen cupboards so the items you use most often are the closest and plates are not stacked on top of each other. Utensils can be hung within easy reach, your food processor and other appliances may be able to be kept on the worktop.

 3. Sit when possible 

Arrange work areas within easy reach of a stool. Reaching and bending uses energy and often can strain joints and give pain if the position is not comfortable.

 4. Choose the right equipment 

Select proper equipment and keep it in good condition. Energy is conserved if the tools fit the job and are in good repair. Use electrical appliances if possible; these may include clothes dryers, self-defrosting fridges, microwave ovens, electric can openers and electric beaters, long-handled dustpans.

If in doubt apply the 4 P’s to each day:


Pace Yourself

Activity-rest-activity. Work at a steady pace.


Set tasks in priority each day. Remember “the urgent” may not be “the necessary”.


Set priorities and pace yourself by planning – rest periods or light activities to follow heavier activities. 


Poor posture will increase fatigue

Orla Tiernan is Arthritis Ireland’s Community Manager. You can contact her at otiernan@arthritisireland.ie