SMART Tips for Exercising Safely with Arthritis

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Arthritis is a general term for disorders that cause pain, stiffness and other symptoms in the joints. Numerous types of arthritis exist; the most common form is osteoarthritis. In this disease, the cartilage that cushions and nourishes the joint degenerates. Osteoarthritis causes excruciating pain and renders movement difficult. In many cases, it becomes virtually impossible to walk or stand without support. Patients with arthritis may find it difficult to exercise due to their diminished strength and impaired mobility.

It is generally accepted that people with arthritis should still exercise to maintain a strong and healthy body. It keeps muscles strong and builds muscle mass, both of which help minimize pain and increase mobility. In addition, regular exercise helps prevent weight gain-. It also keeps your heart healthy as it has to pump blood to all the organs.

The CDC suggests doing exercises using the S.M.A.R.T tips:

Start low, and go slow

Walking The Black Diamond Trail | ODC-For Your Health We jus… | Flickr

Start out with a small amount of activity, such as 3 to 5 minutes twice a day, if you are not currently active. Allow your body time to adapt to a new level of exercise before gradually increasing it (for example, by adding 10 minutes at a time)

Modify activity when arthritis symptoms increase, try to stay active

Pinckney Island bicycling | Pinckney Island National Wildlif… | Flickr

You may experience good and bad days with your arthritis symptoms, such as pain, stiffness, and exhaustion. To keep as active as you can without worsening your symptoms, try to modify your activity

Activities should be joint friendly

LIR Water Aerobics Class | Water aerobics is a great way to … | Flickr

Choose activities that are easy on the joints like walking, bicycling, water aerobics, or dancing. These activities have a low risk of injury and do not twist or “pound” the joints too much.

Recognize safe places and ways to be active

An exercise class might be an excellent choice if you are not currently active. Find safe venues to be active if you plan and manage your own activities. For instance, stroll in an area where the sidewalks or pathways are level, clear of obstacles, well-lit and secluded from busy traffic

Talk to a health professional or certified exercise specialist

doctor consultation | A female doctor talks to a patient at … | Flickr

The best person to ask for advice on exercise is your doctor. Your questions concerning the amount and kinds of activity that best suit your capabilities and health objectives can be addressed by qualified health care providers and trained exercise specialists


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). How Do I Exercise Safely With Arthritis? | CDC. CDC. from

What Is Arthritis? | Arthritis Foundation. (n.d.) from

Dr Awam

Dr Awam

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All credits goes to Awam Clinic health promotion team.

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