exercising with arthritis
Hyun J. (June) Park,  PT, DPT, CIDN

Hyun J. (June) Park, PT, DPT, CIDN

Dr Hyun Park graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She is certified in dry needling by the Integrative Dry Needling Institute and a member of the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association).

Exercising with Arthritis: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

5 Tips For Safe Exercise

  • 1. Small range of motion for strengthening
  • 2. Strengthen and/or stretch only one major muscle group at a time
  • 3. Pain-free range of motion for stretching
  • 4. Perform regular cardiovascular exercise in a low or non-impact manner
  • 5. Avoid repetitive movements (keep repetitions to 6-8)

The Good

  • Posture, posture, posture: keep good alignment over center of gravity during exercise to protect joints and reduce wear and tear on soft tissue
  • Cardiovascular exercise helps to improve endurance for functional activities. Some good choices are walking with good foot support, swimming, ski machine or elliptical trainer use; other non-impact machines such as Airwalker or stationary bicycle
  • Strengthening in a small, mid-range of motion helps to protect joints
  • Stretching in a larger, but pain-free range helps with posture

The Bad

  • Stretching and strengthening at the same time (i.e. full range of motion with resistance/ weights) leads to injuries
  • Twisting the spine and bending forward from the waist place a dangerous amount of pressure on discs and arthritic joints in the back
  • Overdoing yard work or house work “as exercise” is harmful

The Ugly

  • Repetitive overuse or overstretch of joints can compromise joint integrity (concepts of “more is better” and “no pain, no gain”)
  • Benefits Of Exercise
  • Pain reduction
  • Increased flexibility, leading to increased ease of function
  • Improved endurance
  • Improved strength for functional activities

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