Updated: 2022, Mar 4

How Does Exercise Benefit Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that is caused by the breakdown of cartilage, a rubbery material that eases the friction in your joint.

It is not clearly known what causes osteoarthritis, but one thing is that being over the age of 60, being an overweight or being out of shape are some of the factors that accelerate the risks of developing this condition. If you are among those millions of people struggling with this condition, then you need to try doing some exercises to see whether they can alleviate that pain. Benefits of exercise for osteoarthritis are more as regular motion and weight bearing nourishes cartilage, bone and strengthens joints.

How Does Exercise Benefit Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis: The Benefits of Exercise

Starting an exercise program has lots of benefits- whether you are suffering from osteoarthritis or not. If you are suffering from osteoarthritis pain then you will have an extra incentive to getting you moving on. Having regular exercises can help you to achieve the following:

  • Alleviating Joint Pain

    : When you are suffering from Osteoarthritis, you joint cartilage (special tissue that cushions joints) are heavily destroyed. According to Dr. Anne Menz, who is a physical therapist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass, regular Exercises increase the lubrication of the cartilage of the joint, and this reduces the pain and stiffness symptoms of osteoarthritis. Consumption of a joint pain supplement could also help alleviate joint pain. Omega XL is one of the joint pain supplement designed to treat the damaged or ailing joints due to osteoarthritis.

  • Strengthen Muscles

    : When we grow older and older, the tendons and muscles that support our joints become weaker. It is therefore through exercises that these tendons and muscles can be strengthened and as a result, it protects the joints by providing extra support.

  • Decreasing Pressure on The Joints

    : Evidence from various health studies point out that an overweight of even 10 pounds will greatly increase the stress across the knee joints in each step you make. Menz points out that Exercises can help you lose your weight and as a result decrease pressure on the joints.

  • Improve Overall Health

    : When you suffer from Osteoarthritis symptoms, you are highly likely to be held inactive; and as a result, your osteoarthritis will be aggravated. In addition, the state of inactivity will put your heart in danger. Menz explains that regular exercises will decrease all of your health risks that come with a sedentary lifestyle. “Some of the health risks that come with sedentary lifestyle include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, certain cancers and stroke’’, Menz notes.


Osteoarthritis: Doing Exercise Routine

According to Menz, it is good to first check with your doctor for a green light to start a particular exercise. She points out that the best way to slowly incorporate an exercise in your daily routine is by starting slowly and finding ways you can enjoy an exercise as you make it part of your lifestyle.

The best way you can start an exercise is by starting a walking program right in your compound, start a ballroom dancing lessons together with your spouse, or you can join an exercise class in the nearest center. According to Menz, the more you will enjoy an excise the higher the chances of sticking to it.

She also recommends maintaining an exercise journal. Having a log will help you keep yourself accountable and it will also provide you with the motivation to do more each week. If you happen to be among those people whose level of osteoarthritis has worsened to a point of being unable to jog or walk for long distances due to extreme inflammation and pain, then you need to try low impact exercises in the swimming pool as this can also become so effective in alleviating your joint pain. Water aerobics will cause less stress on your joints and this kind of workout can be tolerated by most people. After some time, you can now advance your workouts to land-based ones.

Osteoarthritis: The Best Types of Exercise

The following are the best types of exercises that People with osteoarthritis should consider as their routine workout:

  • Range of Motion Exercise

    : These kinds of exercises include Stretching exercises; which can become so effective in preventing osteoarthritis symptoms of joint stiffness. The places where you can mostly get this kind of conditioning exercises are in Pilates or yoga class.

  • Aerobic Exercise

    : Swimming, Jogging and brisk walking are all examples of exercises that can increase your heart rate and as a result increase blood flow in your muscles. In fact with an increased blood flow in your system, the symptoms of osteoarthritis are reduced.

  • Resistance Training

    : Resistance-band and Weightlifting training are the best strengthening exercises that can help you build up the tendons and muscles that support your joints.

Men advise that, your main objective with osteoarthritis exercise- training should be to improve on your workouts to up to 30 minutes in five days every week. You can try walking, stationary bike, swimming or dancing. The other thing you can try is to do strength training 2 to 3 days a week at the gym or in a training class. You should worry about your troubles of getting started as you can consult your doctor who can refer you to a physical therapist.

Some of the programs that a physical therapist can arrange for you may include range of motion exercises, pain relief strategies, strength training and stretching. Evidence from various research programs shows good exercise programs can slow down the rate of progression of osteoarthritis development and they can help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis-like stiffness and pain. The unfortunate aspect of these exercises is that research shows that more than half of the people who start exercise programs for osteoarthritis end up dropping out within a period of one year.

To avoid such a scenario of dropping out of an exercise program, you need to consult your physical therapist on the appropriate tips on how to get started and how you can effectively stick to this program. The only thing you can do after you have selected your best aerobic is to try your best in doing it as prescribed and try to be as consistent as possible.

For the benefits of exercise for osteoarthritis to be realized, it might take you about 6 to 8 weeks. You should balance these workouts with good amount of rest. If you end up having a good exercise program, you are likely to manage your osteoarthritis symptoms. If these exercises do not work out you can use a joint pain supplement such as Synvisc One Injection which might ease your joint pain in a jiffy.


*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

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Evan Jensen, CPT

Evan Jensen is a renowned American Nutritionist, Diet Expert and health writer. He specializes in writing about health, fitness, nutrit

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