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If you rest, you rust…

is a saying in the arthritis community. The benefits of exercise can reduce the negative impact of arthritis.

Moving is important if you are living with arthritis! Exercise helps to limit pain and improve joint motion. It also boosts energy levels, improves strength to support your joints and prevents falls and future injuries. Movement helps your joints to be healthier.

Any type of low-impact exercise is good. Things like walking, biking, swimming, and strength training are all beneficial. Exercise does not reverse damage that has already been done by arthritis. However, it helps prevent arthritis from getting worse and it has the added benefit of keeping excess pounds off. That can make a huge difference on the joints that support most of the body’s weight: the hips and knees.

Four types of beneficial exercise

  1. Strength exercises provide greater joint support because stronger muscles help absorb force and stress. If you lose muscle strength, then that force and stress is not being spread out and more of it goes to the joint. Free weights, machine or elastic band exercises are all considered strength exercises and are recommended. If you must reduce the range of motion (think half-squats instead of sitting all the way down into a chair) that is better than no motion.

  2. Aerobic exercises use the large muscles in the body over a longer period at a lower intensity than strength exercises. These include walking, biking, swimming, etc. and strengthen the heart, lungs, and muscle function. This type of movement is important in helping you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of heart disease.

  3. Flexibility movements helps to maintain or improve the flexibility in affected joints and surrounding muscles. This contributes to better posture, reduced risk of injuries, and improved function.

  4. Balance exercises help to improve posture, coordination, and relaxation. Good examples are yoga and tai chi.

Anything is better than nothing

Any amount of activity you get beyond resting offers benefit. Even if you can only tolerate 5 minutes at a time and need to stop. If you do that a few times throughout the day, that can add up.


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