Exercise is an important component in staying healthy when you have osteoarthritis. Moderate physical activity on a regular basis helps decrease fatigue, strengthens muscles and bones, increases flexibility and stamina, and improves your general sense of well-being. Joint flexibility is especially important when you have arthritis because stiff joints mean the inability to do daily tasks, such as buttoning a shirt or starting the car.
You should commit yourself to regular exercise that includes three types of activity: flexibility (stretching, range-of-motion) exercises, strengthening (resistance) exercises, and cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise. That may sound like a lot, but if you incorporate it into your daily routine, you’ll find it gets easier to do without even thinking about it.
Before you begin any exercise, you should consult your physician to see if the exercise is appropriate for you. You may even want to see a physical therapist for an assessment of your specific exercise and joint protection needs. They will help you learn how to get started, how to modify exercises so they don’t damage your joints and how to set reasonable goals for yourself. In this section you will find a video library of exercises designed to help common areas affected by osteoarthritis.