Managing Your Pain

16 Gentle Exercises for People with Arthritis

best-arthritis-exercise
Credit: Getty Images

Arthritis workouts

By Karen Pallarito

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, low-impact aerobics, strength training, and stretching can help prevent stiff joints, build muscle, improve endurance, and benefit your heart, bones, and mood.

Of course, when joints are inflamed, you need to take it easy. One study suggests resting 2 to 3 days during a flare-up. But listen to your body. “If it feels good to just walk in the water, then by all means go ahead, but you do not push through RA pain,” says Danielle Anderson, a personal and adaptive trainer at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill. “It’s your body’s way of telling you to stop.” Work with your doctor to find the right exercise for you, and consult him or her about when you should skip it due to symptoms.

Next: Chair stand