How I Stayed Active in the Face of Osteoarthritis


I’ve been dealing with osteoarthritis since my mid-30s. When it first presented itself, I was devastated—not only because I was in pain but also because I thought it meant an end to my active lifestyle. I’d always loved running and cycling, but now those activities were out of the question. In fact, going for a walk hurt too much! But after some trial and error (and lots of research), I realized that being active isn’t just beneficial for people without arthritis—it can actually help manage symptoms or even reduce pain over time. Here are some of the ways that staying active has helped me cope with OA:

I decided to take action by letting go of my old ideas about exercise and trying some new activities.

I used to think that exercise was only for young people. I didn’t think I could do the things I used to do and that my family would have to go without me, so I didn’t join them at their activities.

I was also afraid of getting hurt, but when I started looking into how arthritis affects your muscles, it made me realize that exercise can help prevent further damage. For example, yoga is a great way for anyone with osteoarthritis to strengthen their muscles and improve their balance. And if you’re worried about keeping up with others in class or on the playground, all you need is encouragement from your instructor or children’s teacher!


Yoga is a great way to stretch and strengthen your muscles, relax and get your mind off of things, meet new people, and relieve stress. There are many different types of yoga that offer different benefits. For me, I like to attend Bikram classes because it gives me the opportunity to share my ideas with others who enjoy the same kind of exercise as I do. Also, the heat helps loosen up my stiff joints!

If you’re interested in trying yoga yourself but don’t know where to start or how much it costs: no worries! There are several websites out there that offer free tutorials on basic poses like Downward Dog (the one where you push up on your hands while stretching out your legs), Warrior II Pose (the one where you stand with one foot forward), Plank Pose (the one where you balance on two arms), Cobra Pose (the one where you lift yourself into an upside-down V shape), Tree Pose (the one where you balance on one foot while lifting the other leg straight up behind) …


Swimming is a great way to exercise and stay active, especially if you have arthritis. This exercise is low impact, which means it’s easier on joints like the knees and hips—and it doesn’t cause as much pain as running or jumping. Swimming can also help improve muscle strength and endurance in people with osteoarthritis because water supports your body weight, making it easier to do activities like walking or lifting weights without putting extra pressure on your joints.

Whether you’re just starting out or want to build on what you’ve already learned—or even want input about setting up an exercise program for yourself—swimming instructors are available at all levels of ability. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for adults, but if that sounds like too much work (and with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis), consider breaking up the time into smaller chunks: thirty minutes every three days instead of one hour every seven days would target similar fitness goals while keeping discomfort at bay!


  • Cycling is a good way to stay active. Cycling is a great way for people with arthritis, or anyone else for that matter, to stay active and healthy without putting too much stress on the body. It is one of the best ways to improve cardiovascular health and lose weight (even better than running). There are many different types of bikes that can be used indoors or outdoors as well as stationary cycles which allow you to exercise while sitting down in your own home!
  • Cycling improves overall health. When cycling an individual can take advantage of the fact that there is little stress being put on joints due to movement being cyclical rather than linear like with running. This means cyclists don’t need special shoes or clothing like runners do but may still need protection from elements such as cold wind or rain depending on where they live/cycle often enough outside during winter months when temperatures drop below freezing point temperatures outside this could cause problems such as frostbite if not careful enough when taking breaks at intervals throughout day long rides.* Cycling helps keep body weight under control through calorie burning activities instead of consuming food calories all day long without burning any off which would lead into obesity problems later down road if left untreated early enough before getting worse (see more details below).

Strength training

Strength training is a way to strengthen your muscles, increase bone density and improve balance. Strength training also helps you burn calories and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The key to strength training is using heavy weights, which means you’ll be lifting weights that are challenging for you.

When choosing an exercise program, make sure you’re doing exercises that work different muscle groups so that all of them get worked equally well. For example: If one day my arms are sore from lifting weights, then I might choose another day to do leg lifts instead. This ensures that over time all parts of my body get worked equally well!

Being active is the best thing you can do for your overall health.

Being active is the best thing you can do for your overall health. It doesn’t matter what form of exercise you enjoy, or if you have a chronic condition like arthritis; getting moving will make a big difference in how you feel. Here’s why:

  • Exercise helps manage weight. When we get more active, we burn more calories than when we are sedentary and our bodies naturally want to maintain their current weight by burning more calories than usual. This keeps us from gaining extra pounds and increases our metabolism so we burn more fat over time.
  • Exercise reduces stress levels and improves sleep quality, which benefits everyone but especially those with arthritis who may be dealing with additional pain or discomfort at night. It’s also important to make sure that the amount of exercise you do is not too high for your level of fitness—too much strenuous activity can lead to injuries or flare-ups in pain due to inflammation caused by repetitive motion (which often happens in an overused joint). Listen closely to your body!


I am so glad I chose to be active, even with a chronic health condition. It’s helped me feel better and more energetic, and it has also made me stronger in ways I didn’t expect. If you have osteoarthritis or any other condition that limits your mobility or ability to exercise, don’t let it stop you from getting out there! There are lots of different exercises that can help keep your body strong while still being gentle on joints (even if those joints hurt when they move). And remember: if at first you don’t succeed in finding something fun and effective for yourself, just keep trying new things until one clicks!

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