Overview of Arthritis

  • Chronic & often debilitatting
  • Inflammation of joints, pain, stiffness & limited movement ability
  • More than 100 different types
  • 46 million people are affected
  • Leading cause of disability in people 55 & older
  • People who are affected tend to be physically inactive which accelerates disease progression & leads to other health issues.

Benefits of Exercise

  • Improved cardiovascular capacity, endurance strength & flexibility
  • Improved movement capacity & function
  • Decreased joint swelling & pain
  • Increased physical activity & social connections
  • Reduced depression & anxiety
  • Reduced muscle atrophy & weakness
  • Increased bone density; reduced osteoporosis
  • Elevated pain threshold

Exercise Guidelines

  • Implement low impact, functional exercises
  • Flexibility movements to enhance range of motion for the joints should be a key component; Avoid over-stretching
  • Avoid stair climbing, contact sports, 1 legged stance movements for prolonged periods, quick stop & go activities
  • Begin by conditioning muscles before increasing exercise intensity
  • If pain or swelling occur, reduce intensity & duration of exercise or change mode (e.g. pool, cycle or rower)
  • Wearing shoes with insoles may help reduce impact to joints
  • Start with low intensity & duration, completing several short bouts of activity throughout the day, if possible
  • Implement cross-training & interval training methods to diversify movement
  • Set time goals vs. distance goals for proper pacing
  • Warmups & stretching should be performed daily
  • Learn how to strength train with proper form, intensity & progression
  • Avoid activities that increase joint pain, but expect some delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)

What, When & How: Specific Exercise Programming for Managing Arthritis


  • Walk, cycle, row, swim, dance, do water aerobics
  • Goal: Increase VO2 max, work capacity & endurance
  • Intensity: 60-80% peak HR or 40-60% VO2 max; Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) 11-16/20
  • Frequency: 3-5 days/week; 5-10 minute sessions progressing to 30 minutes
  • Progression of duration is more important than intensity


  • Circuit training, resistance tubes & bands, machines, free weights, body weight
  • Seek instruction from a professional to train properly
  • Goal: Increase repetitions, resistance & power


  • Goal: Increase pain free range of motion; decrease stiffness
  • Stretch after the body is warmed up
  • Seek assistance from a professional to enhance stretching flexibility


  • Improve balance, gait & activities of daily living (ADL)

Please contact Toria Lee for individualized instruction. Exercise programming is available online or at our private studio in Auburn Hills. #anyonecanexercise  #livewithvision


Sources: ACSM’s Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases & Disabilities; Third edition