Exercise and osteoarthritis


Exercise is important if you have osteoarthritis. In this blog read about what exercises are best for osteoarthritis and how often you should do them.



As we get older physical exercise tends to decrease – common phrases we hear all the time are “I’m too old for this now”  “exercise will make my joints painful”.  There is actually no truth in these sayings.  According to the Osteoarthritis (OA) Foundation physical activity is the best non-drug treatment for improving pain and function in OA.

What Exercises work Best?

Range of Motion Exercises

By doing gentle stretches and movement in our joints we will relieve stiffness, help maintain flexibility, reduce swelling and pain.

How Often:

These type of gentle movement exercises should be done every day.

Strengthening exercises

Strengthening the muscles around our joints can support and protect them against the affects of arthritis and prevent potential further pain and stiffness.  The added advantage is that these type of movements will also help relieve stiffness and pain.  If you can’t get to the gym don’t worry you can do simple exercises at home such as mini-squats, stair climbing and standing press ups against a wall.

How Often:

20- 30 minutes at least 3 times per week will be beneficial for this type of exercise.



Apart from being free it is easy on the joints and comes with other benefits such as improving circulation, reducing blood pressure and improving the strength of our bones so lowers the risk of fractures by reducing bone loss as we get older.

How Often:

Short daily walks are more beneficial than a weekly long walk, however you could build up to doing more regular longer walks if you wish.


Aerobic/Endurance Exercise:

This type of exercise will benefit the strength of the muscles and build stamina, control weight and reduce fatigue.  Exercises such as walking, cycling, swimming or using a cross trainer machine are all acceptable forms of aerobic exercise.

How often:

It is recommended that you should do 150 minutes of moderate intensity per week.  So riding a bike or briskly walking for 30 minutes 5 times a week are just some examples of activities you can do.

The Bottom Line:  

As the saying goes USE IT OR LOSE IT!!  However, everyone’s circumstances are different, so having a discussion about exercise with your Physiotherapist or doctor is important. You Physiotherapist can design an exercise plan that is best for you.

If you would like further information you can email info@bridge38physiotherapy.co.uk or phone 01283 716559 or visit the website on www.bridge38physiotherapy.co.uk

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