Answers to Your Questions About Arthritis and Exercise

Arthritis and ExerciseIf you have arthritis, you may think you shouldn’t exercise because it could make your condition worse. But health experts say you can improve your health and fitness through exercise, without damaging your joints. Here’s what you should know.

Q: Why is exercise good if you have arthritis?

A: Exercise can help you keep your joints moving and keep the muscles around your joints strong. It can also keep your bone and cartilage tissue strong and healthy, as well as improve your ability to do daily activities. Along with medicine and rest, regular exercise of your joints—when they aren’t swollen—can help them stay in working order.

Q: What happens if I don’t exercise?

A: If you don’t exercise, your joints can become even more stiff and painful. It’s important to keep your muscles as strong as possible. The stronger the muscles and tissue around your joints, the better they’ll be able to support and protect your joints.

Also, your muscles become smaller and weaker when you don’t exercise. Your bones become more brittle and likely to fracture. Exercise helps keep your joints flexible. This allows you to continue your daily tasks by yourself as much as possible.

Q: What exercises should I do?

A: It depends on the type of arthritis you have, which joints are affected, and how severe your arthritis is. Your health care provider can help decide the best exercise program for you.

People with arthritis often benefit from these three types of exercise:

  1. Range-of-motion exercises. These reduce stiffness and help keep your joints flexible. Controlled stretching promotes a normal range of motion.
  2. Strengthening exercises. These help maintain or increase muscle strength.
  3. Endurance exercises. These exercises strengthen your heart. Walking, exercising in water, and riding a stationary bike are some of the best exercises for people with arthritis.

Connecting via Virtual Visits
If you have questions about starting an exercise program—or want help with other lifestyle changes—know that telehealth is an option. For step-by-step instructions on how to set up a virtual visit from the comfort of your home, visit nuvancehealth.org/virtualvisits.