Self-belief increases physical activity in people with osteoarthritis

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osteoarthritis, attitude, arthritis digest, arthritis magazinePeople with osteoarthritis who are more confident in their abilities in the morning then go on to be more physically active throughout the day, according to research in Health Psychology.

A total of 135 people recorded their self-belief each morning for 22 days, answering questions such as: “How confident are you that you can be physically active today despite pain?” They wore an accelerometer throughout the day, which measured the intensity of their physical activity and how many steps they took.

Self-belief had a positive effect on their steps and activity throughout that day, even when taking into account pain, mood and support from a partner. So the study compared self-belief from person to person, but also day to day within the same person.

“Osteoarthritis is a common condition, and we wanted to look at how we can help people who suffer from it improve their activity levels,” says Ruixue Zhaoyang who led the project. “It’s all about what you think you’re able to do. If you feel more confident than you generally are, you’re more likely to be physically active that day. It’s not about your confidence compared to other people, it’s about comparing it within yourself. If you feel more confident than yesterday, you are more likely to be more active than yesterday.”

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