How to Get Fit With Arthritis: Part I of 2 Part Blog Series

How To Excercise With Arthritis l

If you have arthritis and you want a step by step plan to get healthy without any fear of hurting yourself, then this two part blog post is perfect for you.

The first post gives you all of the most up to date information on arthritis and breaks down the specific exercise formula you need to reduce inflammation, get healthy and increase your quality of life.

Part two gives you a Done For You arthritis workout program that incorporates this specific exercise formula and breaks down each exercise for simple to follow use. Remember to listen to your body and only do the exercises you feel comfortable doing.


Arthritic conditions are the leading cause of disability among North Americans 18 years of age and older. Symptoms among adults 65 years of age and older are reported as being the second most common chronic condition after hypertension. Unlike popular belief arthritis is not an inevitable consequence of aging because most people with arthritic conditions are much younger than 65. The two more common types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis:


Osteo_Knee l

This form of arthritis is caused by degeneration in the cartilage and bone. Some risk factors are preventable and include being overweight and doing repetitive activities that repeatedly stress the joint.

Symptoms: You may feel pain, stiffness and swelling.

Can exercise help Osteoarthritis? Doing physical activity that strengthens the surrounding area of the joint has been known to reduce pain as efficiently as medication.

Rheumatoid arthritis:

This form of arthritis is caused by an autoimmune response. Your body sees its own tissue as an invader and begins to attack it. It does this by creating antibodies which damage the joints.

Symptoms: Redness, stiffness, swelling and even deformity may occur in the joints. What is less known is rheumatoid arthritis can affect other tissues such as your organs. This could lead to anorexia, weight loss and fatigue.

Can Exercise help Rheumatoid Arthritis? Exercise and stretching can reduce stiffness and increase well-being and quality of life.


Here’s How to Exercise With Arthritis:


Low Impact Exercise For Arthritis l

Low impact:

Why do low impact:

If you suffer from lower limb arthritis (i.e. in your knees, ankles or hips) low impact exercises are your best option. These movements are less jarring on the joints and reduce the risk of increased inflammation which can increase arthritic pain and stiffness in the joint.

How to incorporate low impact into your workout:

Pilates, yoga, elliptical, walking and aquafit are just some of your low impact options. Add these styles of fitness into your exercise routine. If your joints are feeling sore and inflamed stay off of them and find alternative exercises.

Functional training:

Happy woman doing aerobics in gym

Why do functional training:

Functional training takes everyday movement patterns and incorporates them into an exercise routine. For arthritis suffers mobility may decrease because of stiffness, pain or fear of injuring yourself further. By incorporating everyday movement patterns into your exercise routine, you begin to perform daily tasks with greater ease.


Balance and directional movements (walking forward and back) are also a big part of functional training. These activities work stabilizer muscles that surround the joint, which reduces pain and increases efficiency of movement.


How to incorporate functional training into your workout: Add at least one functional exercise into your exercise routine. Do 8-15 repetitions 2-3 times a week.



 Stretching: stretching l

Stretching increases mobility warms up muscles and helps reduce the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

How to incorporate Stretching into your workout: Do one stretch exercise for each body part. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times.


Do short bouts of exercise:

Why you should do short bouts of exercise if you have arthritis:

Fatigue: Are you exhausted when you work out? If you have arthritis there’s a reason why. When you suffer pain and stiffness the metabolic cost of being physically active increases by as much as 50%. In other words, the amount of energy you need just to move from one place to another is greater and you may get tired quicker. Shorter bouts of exercise will reduces fatigue and inflammation which may also help you feel more energized.

Stress on joints: Doing repetitive motion for long periods of time increases inflammation in the joints. By doing smaller bouts of exercise, you stop inflammation before it happens and you still benefit from all of the great fitness endorphins longer bouts of exercise bring.

How to incorporate short bouts of exercise: Begin with one 10 minute bout of exercise. As your stamina increases add another bout of exercise until finally you are successfully doing three 10 minute bouts of exercise. Incorporate flexibility, cardio and strength.


The saying “no pain no gain” is absolutely untrue when it comes to arthritis. Listen to your body and follow these rules:

  •  When your joints are inflamed do not exercise
  • Vigorous and repetitive exercise is contraindicated.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers should avoid early morning exercise (when you first wake up) because of added stiffness.


This is a lot of information to take in and it can get quite overwhelming. That’s why part 2 makes it easy for you.


Next week We start the exercises in part 2!

Stay Tuned!




Works cited:

  • Lee, R. D. (2011). Diseases of the musculoskeletal system. In M. Nelms, K. Sucher, & S. L. Roth, Nutrition therapy and pathophysiology (pp. 789-793). Belmont: Cengage learning.
  • Manifesto, P. (2006). Exercise and arthritis. Retrieved from World Arthritis day:
  • Minor, M. A., & Kay, D. (2009). Arthritis. In J. L. Durstine, G. E. Moore, P. L. Painter, & S. O. Roberts, ACSM’S Exercise management for persons with chronic diseases and disabilities (pp. 259-266). Windsor: Human kinetics.
  • Westby, M. (2012, February). American College of Rheumatology. American College of Rheumatology. Atlanta, GA, USA.




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