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Exercise Ideas for Hip and Knee Arthritis

Options for People Who Have Pain With Activity

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Updated October 13, 2013

knee arthritis exercise options

Knee arthritis causes cartilage to wear away from the joint, making exercise painful.

Image © Medical Multimedia Group

Exercise for Joint Pain:

Exercise is important for people with arthritis and for people who have had a joint replacement. Keeping your weight down and your muscles strong can help to delay joint replacement and improve your surgical result from joint-replacement surgery. Learn different ways to exercise so that you are pain-free, despite your arthritis.

Pilates:

Pilates is a terrific way to strengthen the most important muscles in the body (the core) in a low-impact, safe manner. You may think Pilates cannot stimulate a sufficient workout, but professional athletes and athletic trainers would disagree. Pilates has become a popular tool for injury treatment and prevention even with professional athletes. Pilates is safe for the joints and can help improve body mechanics.

Water Aerobics:

Working out in the water is a way to perform normal activities without the impact of working out on land. Water workouts can involve aerobics, walking, jogging or just about anything else. Even sports can be played in the water (e.g. water polo, basketball, etc.), preventing joint pain.

Swimming:

With swimming, your joints are supported by the water, easing arthritis pain. For people with the most severe arthritis in their hip or knee, swimming can be done with a pull-bouy to give you a good cardiovascular workout without placing any burden on your hip or knees.

Cycling:

Cycling is one of my favorite recommendations, because not only is this a low-impact way to exercise, but the cyclic motion of cycling is stimulating for the cartilage within a joint. Cycling gives a good muscular and cardiovascular workout and loosens up stiff joints common in people with arthritis. Start off with stationary cycling, and move outdoors as you get stronger.

Weight Machines:

Training with weights can help strengthen muscles and is also an excellent way to stimulate bone health. Exercising with weights must be done safely, but with proper instruction, just about anyone can learn a few good strength-training exercises. Even with a few dumbbells and some basic knowledge, a weight workout can be perfect for arthritis.

Walking:

Walking is a favorite activity of many arthritis patients. While it is not the best workout for those with arthritis, walking for exercise is certainly better than no exercise at all. So if you want to walk, then walk! There are some ways to modify your walking for a better workout, including trying interval walks and incorporating your arms.

Get Out and Exercise!:

As you can see, there are many options for exercise, even for those with joint pain from arthritis. Exercise has been shown to be useful for patients with arthritis both before and after joint-replacement surgery. So now you have no excuses ... get out and exercise.

 

Sources:

Rooks DS, et al. "Effect of preoperative exercise on measures of functional status in men and women undergoing total hip and knee arthroplasty." Arthritis Rheum. 2006 Oct 15;55(5):700-8.

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