Active Seniors Special Section: Exercise tips for all ability levels

Published on Wed, Feb 15, 2012
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When it comes to fighting arthritis, there’s no arguing with the axiom “move it or lose it.” Movement and physical activity have been proven effective in relieving arthritis pain and, in some cases, delaying the onset of symptoms. But if you’ve been recently diagnosed with arthritis, or have been battling the disorder without much success, you may be unsure just what, or how much, physical activity will help you.

Low mobility

If you’ve been sedentary, starting out gently is essential. Talk to your doctor about what types of activities will be appropriate for your mobility level.

Don’t overlook opportunities to work low-intensity exercise into your daily routine.

Gentle stretching is essential for all ability levels, and definitely manageable for those with lesser mobility. Stretching helps keep joints and muscles limber. In addition to simple aerobic activity, stretching exercises such as tai chi or yoga can help fight arthritis pain.

Moderate mobility

The Arthritis Foundation recommends at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week. You should do at least 10 minutes at a time and spread your activity throughout the week.

Moderate intensity physical activity can include sports like badminton, bowling and golf. Walking faster than 3 mph or while holding weights also qualifies as moderate activity. You may opt to incorporate in your exercise regimen both fun activities, such as dancing or cycling, with practical ones like carrying firewood, doing yard work or washing and waxing your car.

High mobility

If you exercised regularly prior to your diagnosis you may have better mobility, and could benefit from increasing your activity level. Aim for five hours of moderate-intensity or 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity every week.
Incorporating a mix of different activities will not only help keep you moving, but can enhance your enjoyment of your exercise time.

You can learn more about osteoarthritis at