Arthritis and Exercise

Patient information: Arthritis and exercise (Beyond the Basics)

AuthorsMaureen R Gecht-Silver, MPH, OTR/LAlison M Duncombe, PT, OCS, FAAOMPT Section EditorRN Maini, BA, MB BChir, FRCP, FMedSci, FRS


Exercise is known to have benefits for people with arthritis. However, many people with arthritis do not exercise, often because of joint or muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, or joint swelling. This can lead to loss of joint motion, stiffness, and muscle weakness and tightness. These problems can worsen fatigue and can cause joints to become unstable.

However, exercise can decrease pain and can enhance quality of life. Exercise is most beneficial if it is done on a regular basis. Most people can find a way to exercise without increasing their symptoms.

This topic describes the benefits of exercise for people with arthritis, including disease-specific exercise recommendations.


Stick with it — A number of factors can improve the chances of sticking with an exercise program long-term, including:

  • Follow a simple regimen
  • Set attainable goals
  • Understand the importance and benefits of exercise
  • Interact with others while exercising (ie, with exercise groups)
  • Follow up regularly with a healthcare provider, such as a physical therapist or personal trainer, to provide encouragement and to make adjustments to the regimen

Exercise in a supervised setting may improve the chances of continuing long term, compared with unsupervised, home-based programs. However, people who are self-motivated and exercise at home may enjoy the benefits of equal effectiveness, lower costs, and more convenience.

(Excerpts from Wolters Kluwer Health Clinical Solutions)

The foregoing was a topic of discussion among my gym buddies this past weekend. I actually found myself mentoring some older girls, who were joining our group with some trepidation. I explained that my sports medicine doctor had given me some expensive injections to my knee, and that it worked for a few weeks. I went on to advise them that, if they were not going to at least try some simple exercises, I believe from experience, that they would be stiff and sore all the time. I found for myself, I could no longer do high impact exercises, and was advised by my PCP not to do so, but I kept moving as much or as little as I could, depending on how I felt that day, I could remain flexible and relatively pain free. Everyone will be different, because we have so many different types  arthritis, and pain levels to deal with. But movement definitely helps, at least for me and my exercise buddies who meet for two hours, three times per week.

~ by silvachiqa on May 28, 2012.

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