Skip to main content

Taking Back Control: How Exercise Can Help Your Arthritis Symptoms

Taking Back Control: How Exercise Can Help Your Arthritis Symptoms

Feb 24, 2023

Arthritis causes pain and stiffness in your joints and reduces your mobility, impacting almost every aspect of your life. However, there are ways to manage your condition through healthy lifestyle changes. Here’s how arthritis-friendly physical activity can relieve pain, increase energy levels and improve your mood.

What is arthritis?

“Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints and their surrounding tissue, causing pain, stiffness and swelling,” said Erica Milas, D.O., physician at Inspira Medical Group Primary Care Clarksboro. “There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.“

Arthritis symptoms include:

  • Deep, aching pain in your joints 
  • Stiffness after waking up in the morning
  • Pain while walking 
  • Joints that are warm to the touch, swollen or difficult to move 
  • Limited range of motion 
  • Fatigue

There is no cure for arthritis, but there are ways to manage this condition to minimize pain and joint damage, maintain physical function and improve your quality of life. 

How exercise helps joint pain and stiffness

An arthritis-friendly exercise routine can reduce joint pain, increase strength, improve flexibility and minimize fatigue. “The thought of exercise may feel overwhelming if you’re experiencing joint pain and fatigue from arthritis, but it’s vital for managing your symptoms,” said Dr. Milas. “As long as you follow a physician-advised exercise plan, it should not intensify your joint pain.” 

Moderate physical activity can also delay the onset of arthritis-related mobility issues and help you manage other chronic health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. Some physical activity is better than none, so stay as active as possible while keeping your safety in mind. 

Types of exercises that can help

Working with a doctor or physical therapist can help you identify which exercises are the most effective and involve the least amount of joint pain. For example, range-of-motion exercises, which include raising your arms overhead and rolling out your shoulders, can help relieve joint stiffness and increase mobility. 

“Strengthening exercises such as weight training can help you maintain or increase your muscle strength to support and protect your joints,” said Dr. Milas. “If possible, aim for two to three days of strength training per week, avoid exercising the same muscle groups twice in a row and take a day to rest between your workouts.” 

Endurance training helps improve cardiovascular health and combat fatigue by increasing your energy levels. Walking, swimming, cycling and using an elliptical machine are all low-impact exercises that can help improve your health and fitness without aggravating your joints. Try working your way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. 

At Inspira, we’re focused on keeping you in motion. Make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist to develop an arthritis-friendly exercise plan that works for you. 

Inspira Health is a high reliability organization (HRO), which means safety is the top priority for patients and staff. To make an appointment, call 1-800-INSPIRA.


Topics: Cardiology & Heart Health, Diabetes, Fitness, Health and Wellness, Orthopedic Services, Primary Care