Arthritis and Exercise: What to Do and Not Do

Jan 17, 2023
Arthritis and Exercise: What to Do and Not Do
Most people are well aware of the many health benefits that exercise provides, but it can be hard to navigate when you have a painful condition like arthritis. Here’s what you should know.

Staying active with arthritis can be more of a challenge than you might anticipate, especially if the condition is getting worse. Yet surprisingly, exercise can help ease your arthritis pain and alleviate some of the stiffness you feel is holding you back. 

Experts Adam Redlich, MD, and Adam Thompson, DO, can help you manage arthritis with clinical care while also helping you integrate beneficial exercise into your routine. You may need to figure out where to start on your own, but a visit to A+ Athlete Sports Medicine in Robbinsville or Neptune, New Jersey, is worth your while. 

Therapeutic exercises to improve your symptoms

Therapeutic exercises are movements you perform that are specifically meant to alleviate discomfort and other symptoms. A key part of physical therapy, you can learn these exercises directly from your care providers and practice them on arthritic joints at home. 

Performing these exercises properly is crucial, so our experts have you do them in the office first so you understand the motions and their benefits. They can help with range of motion, strength, and pain relief. 

Focus on low-impact activities

While therapeutic exercises inside or outside a clinical setting can benefit arthritis, you’ll want to start doing some leisurely or recreational exercises too. They don’t feel as much like homework from your doctor or physical therapist. In fact, if you find a physical activity you enjoy, you’ll probably start looking forward to it as a regular part of your routine. 

Most experts recommend low-impact activities for arthritis, especially when you first get started. Low-impact activities place little stress on your joints and have a low injury risk. 

Some types of exercise you might enjoy while managing arthritis are:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Water aerobics

Even light gardening or housework counts as low-impact exercise, so if you take a day off to spruce up the house, you’re not missing out on the benefits. The experts at A+ Athlete Sports Medicine can help you ease into a safe amount of exercise and increase it over time. 

Be mindful of your body’s needs

If a particular exercise results in increased pain or more joint stiffness, don’t ignore these signals. Instead, take them as your body’s way of telling you to modify your activities. There are plenty of exercise options to try, and you don’t need to limit yourself to just one. 

The benefits of exercise with arthritis

Exercise helps you work toward specific goals while enjoying overall benefits for your arthritis. Various types of physical activity can improve joint function, with benefits such as:

  • Increased strength of muscles around the joint
  • Stronger bones
  • Increased range of motion
  • More balance 
  • More flexibility
  • Decreased fall risk

You can gain additional benefits by continuing treatment for arthritis and being sure to avoid overworking your joints. Start out with gentle movements, apply heat to relax your muscles before exercise, and use ice to alleviate any swelling that happens post-workout. 

Need help getting started?

Our experts at A+ Athlete Sports Medicine can put you on track to better joint health, or at least slow down your arthritis progression. Schedule your appointment by phone or online at either of our offices today.