Ulrika Jonsson has turned to Zero Gravity Pilates in a bid to combat ‘pretty horrendous’ bouts of arthritis.
The former Gladiators host, 54, was diagnosed with the degenerative condition in both hips around four years ago but was told she has probably suffered most of her life.
Ulrika, who was forced to give up running, said her arthritis was ‘completely exacerbated by child bearing four times and various bits of exercise that probably weren’t ideal’.
EXCLUSIVE: ‘I go through periods of time when it’s pretty horrendous’ Ulrika Jonsson detailed how she is combatting bouts of arthritis with Zero Gravity Pilates – and revealed she is ‘nearing’ need a hip replacement(pictured in March)
Speaking exclusively to the Daily Mail, she said: ‘I started about a month ago, Zero Gravity Pilates. It’s using that reformer that piece of equipment that looks like something out of Fifty Shades of Grey and because it’s zero gravity you’re not putting any pressure on the muscles.
‘But when I do that I can hear and feel my hip bone click, and the pain from that. But I know that what I’m doing is strengthening all the muscles.
‘I used to do a lot of swimming which was definitely an excellent exercise for me but they’re pretty much the only two things.’
Health: The former Gladiators host, 54, was diagnosed with the degenerative condition in both hips around four years ago but was told she has probably suffered most of her life (pictured in March)
Rochelle Humes, Kimberley Walsh and Lisa Snowdon are all fans of the low impact workout which involves working against your own body weight, and gravity, to create resistance on a rolling board.
Although she is not in daily pain, the Sweden-born TV star finds it increasingly difficult to get out of bed or out of a car after long periods.
She uses a specially designed hot water bottle to ease the stiffness in her hips in bed and takes painkillers during flare ups.
‘The big thing is I work for the most time at home and I’m often sitting down writing and I just can’t sit down for long periods of time,’ she explained.
Journey: Ulrika, who was forced to give up running, said her arthritis was ‘completely exacerbated by child bearing four times and various bits of exercise that probably weren’t ideal’
‘I get up and move around I put my laptop into a standing position. It’s a constant negotiation.
‘If I’ve spent two or three hours in a car getting into London it’s pretty tough. It’s like your hips seize and you have flashes of moments when you think, “I can’t move”.
‘When I’m in bed, of course if you do fall asleep you’re probably lying in a pretty stationary position, and sometimes I struggle to get that first movement out of my body.
‘I use a long hot water bottle and it’s perfect because it goes right across my hips and it’s been like a revelation just warming up the muscle.
Honest: The mother-of-four, who took part in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins last year, said it was difficult to take in the news about a prospect hip replacement as it was a ‘sign that my body is falling apart’ (pictured August 2021)
‘Nobody likes to lose sleep it’s so debilitating. I go through periods of time when it’s pretty horrendous.’
As well as the hot water bottle she also uses a knee pillow, both designed by Arthr, a company specialising in products for those with arthritis.
‘I have been sleeping with a pillow between my knees for a number of years now,’ she said.
‘If I was going away on a trip, I’ve been in hotel rooms folding towels. I will be in absolute agony even if I lie down on the sofa and don’t have a little something between my legs.
‘I just would never consider going to bed without a pillow between my legs. Maybe not the sexiest, but what can you do!’
The mother-of-four, who took part in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins last year, said she is ‘nearing’ needing a hip replacement.
She said it was difficult to take in the news as it was a ‘sign that my body is falling apart.
‘I’ve got a couple of friends who have had hip replacements and they’re a bit older than me and I just thought that’s not really something I want to be contemplating already.
‘It definitely was one of those things where you go ‘it’s a slippery slope to old age’.
Open: ‘For me it was a bit of fear and panic because you just think it’s not really something you can halt. This is a sign that my body is falling apart,’ she admitted (pictured May 2021)
‘Mobility is something we really value and I certainly do as someone who is active, I’m up and about doing things all the time, whether it’s gardening or walking.
‘For me it was a bit of fear and panic because you just think it’s not really something you can halt. This is a sign that my body is falling apart,’ she admitted.
Ulrika said she believes taking HRT has helped to ease the condition, adding: ‘I think I feel a lot better than I would do if I wasn’t and I nipped that in the bud pretty sharpish when I went into the perimenopausal stage and I saw the doctor because I thought I’ll be damned if I have to endure anything else mother nature throws at me.’
Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation and stiffness in the joints.
The main treatments are lifestyle changes, medications and surgery in more severe cases.
Arthr recently carried out a study which found three quarters (74 per cent) of people with arthritis suffer with disrupted sleep, with almost one quarter of these disrupted every night by joint pain.
Ulrika added: ‘Do not put me in some box or bracket of old, past it and couple it with all these negative words because people who do suffer, we need all the positivity we can get.’
WHAT IS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS? THE AGONISING LONG-TERM ILLNESS THAT IS INCURABLE
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects around 400,000 people in the UK
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects around 400,000 people in the UK and nearly 1.3 million adults in the US.
Women are up to three times more likely to develop the condition than men. Those with family history of rheumatoid arthritis are also more vulnerable.
It is a long-term illness in which the immune system causes the body to attack itself, causing painful, swollen and stiff joints.
RA, the second most common form of arthritis that often begins between the ages of 40 and 50, tends to strike the hands, wrists and knees.
Scientists are currently unsure as to the exact cause of RA, but smoking, eating lots of red meat and coffee drinkers are at higher risk.
A cure has yet to be found, but treatments are available and proven to help slow down the progressive condition.
RA is a complex autoimmune condition that is diagnosed and treated by a Consultant Rheumatologist in secondary care and the patient is followed up on a regular basis by a consultant-led multi-disciplinary team in hospital.