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Is exercise beneficial if I have arthritis?

Last Modified: October 27, 2022

Diseases & Disorders, Sports & Exercise


This post was written by Emily Mize, ATC, certified athletic trainer, Parkview Sports Medicine.

Exercising can be a beneficial activity for both the mind and body, but the pros aren’t quite as obvious for those who experience joint discomfort as a result of arthritis. The question is, should they continue to make themselves move to manage their condition?

Exercise for the win

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities.” Participating in the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day can help one maintain their body weight or possibly lose weight if that is the overarching goal, lower the risk for cardiovascular disease, and reduce pain and improve function, mood, and quality of life for adults with arthritis.

Special considerations for those with arthritis

Arthritis cannot be classified as one singular problem, as there are more than 100 different types of arthritis-related conditions according to Rath, from the Arthritis Foundation. Those with arthritis often experience pain, stiffness and swelling, and a decreased range of motion throughout joints.

When adults with arthritis begin an exercise regimen, there are a few ways to begin. The CDC recommends including low-impact aerobic activity, such as cycling or brisk walking. Another option is muscle strengthening exercises, such as resistance or weight training. These folks will also gain benefit from balance or flexibility training and exercises. These will help to build control, reduce risk of falling, and retain range of motion normally lost due to arthritis.

Don’t let an arthritis diagnosis stop you from moving your body. Take your time, try different things and find what feels best for you

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