World Arthritis Day highlights the importance of exercise as Barbara Hale can testify

Barbara Hale, who has osteoarthritis in her spine, is living proof that it is possible to manage the degenerative joint disease by working out in the gym.

Aged care provider Uniting NSW.ACT wants World Arthritis Day, the global initiative held annually on 12 October, to highlight the importance of exercise in managing the symptoms of osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis.

An estimated 3.6 million Australians are living with arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoidarthritis and other types of the disease.

Uniting Exercise Physiologist Daniella Mascaro said exercise prescribed as ‘medicine’ leads to decreases in swelling and pain, along with improving bone health and overall strength.

“It is absolutely key to keep as active as possible for as long as possible to help manage this painful condition,” she said.


Barbara found getting around was very painful thanks to a number of crippling conditions. Then she and her husband Warwick began working out regularly at Uniting’s Seniors Gym at Westmead, 26km west of Sydney’s CBD, since July 2021 with life-changing results.

“From going to the gym, I find it easier to do things like shopping and walking. I feel I am doing as much as I can, I’m 79 and I hope I can keep doing it for much longer,” Barbara said.


She is now able to walk up to 10,000 steps a day and has also recently taken up yoga. A recent assessment showed Barbara’s upper body strength increased by 18.5% since joining the gym in July 2021, and her lower limb strength improved by almost 50%.

Uniting’s Seniors Gym staff will host an interactive and informative event to share the efforts of  Barbara and others to manage osteoarthritis with exercise at Westmead Seniors Gym on Monday, 16 October.

For information on joining the Uniting Seniors Gym, please call 1800 864 846 or visit Uniting Seniors Gyms at Lilyfield, Westmead, Beverley Hills, Waverley War Memorial Hospital, Normanhurst, Chatswood, Gerringong, Orange and Gordon in the ACT. The latest seniors gym will be opening later this year in Leichhardt.

To register your interest in attending Uniting’s interactive and informative event on how to manage your osteoarthritis at Westmead Seniors Gym on Monday, from 1:30-2:30pm, please visit

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A special thanks to our contributors

Caroline Egan

DCM Media, agedcare101

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.