4 Activities That Help Ease Joint Pain
To relieve symptoms of arthritis, move more – and try these activities.
Arthritis can turn everyday activities — like grocery shopping or even walking to the bathroom — into painful challenges.
The good news is that mild to moderate exercise, coupled with physical therapy if prescribed, can keep you active, reduce joint pain and restore flexibility. It can also give you more energy, may help you sleep better and is good for your heart.
Exercise strengthens the muscles that support weight-bearing joints. This protects joints so they can work more efficiently and with less pain. If you've been considering joint replacement surgery because of joint pain, stronger muscles may relieve the pain enough so that you can postpone or even avoid surgery. If you do have surgery, recovery is typically faster when you're in better physical condition.
Here are a few activities that may help ease joint pain:
- Swimming and other water-based exercise: Water supports your body weight, reducing the impact on your joints when you move. It also provides plenty of resistance to build muscle strength. Swimming is a good exercise for stretching your muscles and soothing your joints. You can also join a water aerobics class or walk around the pool in the shallow end.
- Bicycle riding: Bike riding helps strengthen your heart and muscles without the impact on your joints that jogging or other ground-based activities can have.
- Yoga: Slow, steady movements help reduce the tenderness and swelling associated with arthritis. The moves can also improve joint function and flexibility.
- Walking: Taking a walk is the simplest thing you can do to increase your heart health and reduce stiffness while also being relatively easy on your joints.
Before leaping into any activity, it's important to first talk with your doctor. If you've been inactive for a while, you may be prescribed physical therapy so you learn how to exercise safely and effectively without doing further damage to your joints.
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Date Last Reviewed: March 22, 2018
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS