What Exercises Should You Avoid With Arthritis

What Exercises Should You Avoid With Arthritis?

Arthritis is a common disabling condition that affects over 54 million adults in the United States. This condition, which is caused by joint inflammation, can make even the simplest of tasks increasingly difficult. One way to help reduce the symptoms of arthritis is through exercise. However, it’s important to note that there are certain exercises that should be avoided because they may do more harm than good and worsen joint pain.


Common Exercises to Avoid

When it comes to exercise, “listen to your body,” says physical therapist Lorraine Carli, PT. As a general rule, she suggests avoiding any exercise that causes too much pain or aggravates arthritis symptoms.

High-Impact Activities

High-impact activities, such as running, basketball, tennis, and kickboxing, can cause too much strain on joints that are inflamed, thus exacerbating the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.

Deep, Long Stretches

Deep, long stretches, especially when done without warming up, can also exacerbate arthritis symptoms. To minimize risk of injury, Carli suggests stretching gradually and without pushing the body to its limits.


8 Exercises Safe To Do With Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammatory joint disease that can cause pain, swelling, and immobility. Although it may seem counterintuitive to exercise with a joint-related disorder, performing low-impact exercises can help reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis while also improving function. Here are 8 exercises safe to do with arthritis:


Walking is a low-impact exercise that can be beneficial for people with arthritis. It helps lubricate the joints, maintain mobility, and strengthen muscles that support the joints. Start slowly by walking 5 to 10 minutes at a time and then gradually work your way up to longer bouts of 30 minutes or more.

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Swimming is another low-impact form of exercise that can be beneficial for those with arthritis. It can help reduce joint pain, improve function, and increase mobility. Swimming is especially beneficial for those with an inflammatory type of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Water Aerobics

Water aerobics is a form of exercise that consists of aerobic movements performed in the water. This exercise is low-impact and can be beneficial for people with arthritis as it helps reduce the strain on the joints without compromising the intensity of the exercise.


Biking is a great way to get your heart rate up while reducing pressure on your joints. Start with a stationary bike and gradually increase your resistance or add intervals of speed to the ride to up your intensity.


Yoga is a great form of exercise for those with arthritis as it focuses on both strength and flexibility. Doing a few simple poses can help reduce pain and improve flexibility, so it’s a great way to stay active with lower impact.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a form of exercise that focuses on slow, gentle movements that help improve balance, flexibility, and range of motion. Studies have found that practicing Tai Chi can help reduce pain and improve function for those with arthritis.

Strength Training

Strength training is a great way to improve strength and flexibility while reducing the impact on your joints. Strength training can help reduce the pain of arthritis while also improving the function of your joints.


Stretching is an important part of any exercise program and can help reduce the stiffness of arthritis. Regular stretching can help you maintain proper posture and increase your range of motion. Take your time and focus on deep, controlled movements to help reduce the stiffness of arthritis.

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Before starting an exercise program, it’s important to understand which activities may worsen arthritis pain and inflammation. High-impact activities, deep stretches, and seated exercises should be avoided and replaced with more low-impact alternatives. With the help of a physical therapist, you can develop an exercise routine tailored to your needs and abilities that will help alleviate some of your arthritis symptoms.

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