Exercises for Arthritis

Regular exercise is helpful for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) because it can help to strengthen the muscles that support the joints and improve the joint function by reducing stiffness.  Low impact exercises may also help to reduce the pain of arthritis.  Note that the exercises do not have to be strenuous or vigorous.  As long as you keep your joints moving, even gentle stretching or yoga can improve your balance and mobility.

Types of exercises

These are the 3 main types of exercises with different benefits.  It is important to ask your doctor or physiotherapist to recommend which type of exercises are suitable for your disease stage and your ability.  Try to choose a type of exercise which you enjoy and that you are likely to continue.

  • Aerobic exercises improve stamina and cardiovascular health.  Examples include swimming, walking, cycling or even dancing
  • Resistance exercises improve muscle strength.  Examples include using weights or resistance bands
  • Flexibility exercises reduce stiffness and improve mobility.  Examples include yoga or simple stretching exercises

Here are a few examples of exercises for different parts of the body which you can choose as part of your regular exercise routine.  Do keep an exercise diary of your activities to share with your doctor or physiotherapist to help you monitor your disease activity.  You can also use TELEME mobile app Health Tracker to document your mood / stiffness / pain to share with your doctor.

Click to view AgeWithTess video on Hand Exercises for RA

Hand Exercises

RA commonly affects the wrist, proximal interphalangeal (PIP) and metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints resulting in stiffness (especially in the morning), pain, swelling and reduced grip strength as the disease progresses.   Hand exercises performed at home have been shown to improve hand function and grip strength.

Click to view AgeWithTess video on Cervical Spondylosis Exercises

Shoulder Exercises

RA can also involve the shoulders and causing pain, stiffness and limited motion.  Regular exercises help to reduce stiffness and increase mobility.

Click to view AgeWithTess video on Walking for RA

Leg Exercises

Weight bearing leg exercises help to prevent loss of bone density, improve muscle strength and reduce muscle stiffness.  It can also help to improve your mood and stamina. 

Plan your exercise program with your Rheumatologist or Physiotherapist

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Share it on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?