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14 Joint-Friendly Exercises for Arthritis

When your joints ache from arthritis, hitting the gym might not be that appealing. But, research has shown that working out can help keep your joints strong and flexible—and even relieve pain.

These 14 exercises are low-impact, so they’re more appropriate for people with arthritis. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

  1. Water walking
    Walking in waist-deep water alleviates about half of the weight on your joints.

  2. Water aerobics
    You can tone up your whole body, with up to three-quarters less joint stress than traditional aerobics.

  3. Swimming
    Up your cardio game by swimming, which works your whole body.

  4. Bocce ball
    This social activity can help you build strength and burn calories, with minimal bending and lunging.

  5. Golf
    Golfing can help you work your upper body and core. Ditch the golf cart to add a solid walking workout.

  6. Shuffleboard
    Pushing the weighted puck in this relaxing, outdoor game can help you build leg and arm strength.

  7. Treadmill walking
    Set your own pace and vary the course to include small hills, which builds stamina.

  8. Outdoor walking
    Get all the benefits of walking, with the added stress relief of spending time outdoors.

  9. Indoor and outdoor cycling
    Riding a bike outside or spinning indoors works all the muscles in your lower body.

  10. Cross-country skiing
    This kind of skiing is a relatively low-impact way to get an overall body workout, without twisting and turning your knees.

  11. Elliptical machine
    The fluid motion of an elliptical machine takes a lot of the stress off your joints, but still delivers a solid cardio workout.

  12. Pilates
    Pilates stretches your muscles and lengthens your spine. Be sure to find a class or teacher who specializes in arthritic conditions.

  13. Yoga
    Yoga can help boost flexibility, build muscle and reduce stress.

  14. Tai Chi
    The ancient art of Tai Chi can help improve balance and reduce stress and pain.

Want support as you start an exercise program?
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