Exercises for Patients with Osteoarthritis

If you’re living with osteoarthritis, you most likely spend time looking for ways to ease the inflammation and joint pain that osteoarthritis brings. Common sources of pain relief may include heating packs, cold compresses, and heated blankets.  

In addition to these helpful aids, doctors and physicians often recommend gentle, low-impact exercises that promote mobility and flexibility. These exercises include: 

  • Aerobic exercises, or exercises that can stimulate and increase your heart rate. A brisk walk, bike ride, or simple water aerobics (if a pool is available) can help elevate your heart rate and provide some joint relief. 
  • Simple range-of-motion exercises, including some simple stretches, which promote flexibility among affected joints and combat the stiffness that osteoarthritis can yield. You may want to sign up for a local yoga class for seniors! 
  • Balance exercises, such as tai chi or slow, backwards walking. Balance exercises, while very helpful, should only be performed in very safe environments with balancing props such as chairs or stools. 

Exercise, while being incredibly helpful for seniors with osteoarthritis, should be maintained carefully as to not over-exert the person practicing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends “starting low and going slow”. Similarly, activities should be slowed down or ceased if severe inflammation occurs. Seniors may want to monitor for worsening pain and modify their exercises accordingly. 

While not a full replacement for treatment, aerobic and osteo-arthritic friendly exercises are a powerful method of keeping your joints limber, flexible, and relatively pain-free. If you’re interested in introducing an increased amount of exercise to your life, talk to your doctor about trying these recommended exercises. 

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