Text Resize
Subsribe to RSS Feed

Saturday May 26, 2018

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

Exercises that Help Ease Arthritis Pain and Stiffness

What exercises are best suited for people with arthritis? I have osteoarthritis in my neck, back, hip and knee and have read that exercises can help ease the pain and stiffness, but I do not know where to start and I certainly do not want to aggravate it.

Many people who have arthritis believe that exercise will worsen their conditions, but that is not true. Exercise is actually one of the best treatments for osteoarthritis.

Proper and careful exercises can help reduce joint pain and stiffness, strengthen muscles around the joints and increase flexibility. It also helps manage other chronic conditions that are common among seniors with arthritis, such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Recommended Exercises

Determining exactly which types of exercises that are best for you depends on the form and severity of your arthritis and which joints are involved. It is best to work with your doctor or a physical therapist to help you develop a personalized exercise program. The different types of exercises that are most often recommended to seniors with arthritis include:
  • Range-of-motion exercises: These are gentle stretching exercises that can relieve stiffness and improve the ability of your joints to move through their normal range of motions. These exercises should be done daily.

  • Strengthening exercise: Calisthenics, weight training and working with resistance bands are recommended (two or more days a week) to maintain and improve your muscle strength. Strengthening your muscles will help support and protect your joints.

  • Aerobic exercises: Low-impact activities like walking, cycling, swimming or water aerobics are all recommended three to five times per week to help improve cardiovascular health, control weight and improve your function overall.

It is also important to keep in mind that, when you first start exercising, you need to go slow in order to give your body time to adjust. If you push yourself too hard you can aggravate your joint pain. However, some muscle soreness or joint achiness in the beginning is normal.

To help you manage your pain, start by warming up with some simple stretches or range of motion exercises for five to 10 minutes before you move on to strengthening or aerobic exercises. Another tip is to apply heat to the joints you will be working before you exercise and use cold packs after exercising to reduce inflammation.

If you experience significant pain while you are exercising, you may need to modify the frequency, duration or intensity of your exercises until the pain subsides. Alternatively, you may need to try a different activity (e.g., switching from walking to water aerobics). It is important to note that if you are experiencing severe, sharp or constant pain, large increases in swelling or your joints feel hot or red then you need to stop and see your doctor.

Exercising Aids

To help you exercise at home, the Arthritis Foundation offers a variety of free online videos (see Arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/videos) to guide you through a variety of exercises. There are also arthritis exercise DVDs that you can purchase for a few dollars through Collage Video (CollageVideo.com, 800-819-7111) or the Arthritis Foundation Store (AFstore.org).

Also see Go4life.nia.nih.gov (or call 800-222-2225), a National Institute on Aging resource that offers a free exercise guide that provides illustrated examples of different exercises.

If you need some motivation or do not like exercising alone, ask your doctor about exercise programs in your area for people with arthritis. Hospitals and clinics sometimes offer special programs, as do local health clubs and senior centers.

The Arthritis Foundation also conducts exercise and aquatic programs for people with arthritis in many communities throughout the U.S. Contact your local branch (see Arthritis.org/local-offices or call 800-283-7800 for contact information) to find out what may be available near you.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published September 1, 2017
Subsribe to RSS Feed

Previous Articles

How to Stop Unwanted Junk Mail and Guard Against Mail Fraud

Finding Money for Long-Term Care

Low-Cost Wireless Plans for Older Smartphone Users

Finding Help for Seniors Addicted to Opioids

How to Choose the Right Type of Walker


Gift Options

What to Give
Find out what to give and learn about the best assets to make a planned gift.
How To Give
Giving to our cause can be done either directly or through a gift model that can provide tax benefits and even income.
Planned Gifts Cacluator
These presentations show the income and tax benefits for you.
Donor Stories
Learn how others have made an impact through their acts of giving to our organization and others. Explore the many benefits of charitable gift planning.

Create Your Plan

Learn About Wills and Trusts
Help plan for your family and loved ones with a will or living trust.
Bequest Language
View some helpful language commonly used on bequests.
Request an Estate Planning Guide
We would like to send you a FREE Estate Planning Guide.


Personal Planner
Savvy Living
Exercises that Help Ease Arthritis Pain and Stiffness
What exercises are best suited for people with arthritis? I have osteoarthritis in my neck, back, hip and knee and have read that exercises can help ease the pain and stiffness, but I do not know...
Finance News
Washington news

For Advisors

We have a complete tax update service for CPAs, attorneys, CLUs, CFPs, ChFCs, trust officers and other professional friends. The GiftLaw services are made available to all advisors as a free service. We are available to assist in helping you provide clients with clear and understandable gift illustrations.