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Persons with Arthritis

There are more than 100 types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common type, affects 1 in 7 adults while rheumatoid arthritis affects 1 in 100 adults. Less than 14% of adults with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis meet recommended guidelines for physical activity.

Physical Activity and Arthritis

Regular physical activity is safe for people with arthritis and can improve:

  • Your overall level of pain
  • Nutrition and strength of your joints and surrounding muscles
  • Joint range of motion
  • Day-to-day activities
  • Fatigue and depression

Guidelines recommend you try getting up to 150 minutes (2 ½ hours) of moderate to vigorous- intensity activity, such as brisk walking, per week and muscle strengthening activity twice per week. Additionally, try doing light-intensity physical activity throughout your day, including standing up for a few minutes every waking hour.

Sitting too much or for too long is not good for your joints and increases your risk of developing many chronic conditions including heart problems and type 2 diabetes.

Useful Resources

Flourish – Helping You Move Through Life with Arthritis (Arthritis Society, Canada)
This online lifestyle hub called flourish has articles with information to help you start or improve an exercise program, learn about different types of exercise, and choose activities that are right for you.  Use the ‘exercise’ filter under subtopics. Check back often for new articles.

Get Moving: Maximizing Your Activity After a Hip or Knee Replacement (Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation, Canada)
This 50-page printable booklet includes advice on returning to physical activity after joint replacement surgery, suggested exercises, setting goals, and tracking your activity.

Exercising with Arthritis (Versus, UK)
This website provides resources on how to get started with exercise and how much exercise to do, and suggests exercises to manage pain in different joints.

Keep Moving (Versus, UK)
This booklet outlines the benefits and importance of physical activity and includes different types of exercises for people living with arthritis.

Health & Wellness – Physical Activity (Arthritis Foundation, USA)
This is a website of resources and guidance on the benefits of exercise for arthritis, how to exercise, recommended activities, and arthritis-friendly exercise videos. Also available on this website are exercise and fitness tools to help you get moving including ‘Your Exercise Solution’ and ‘Track and React’.

Physical Activity for Arthritis (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, USA)
This is a website with information on exercise benefits, setting SMART goals, guidelines, and links to other Center for Disease Control and Prevention physical activity resources and videos.

Rx for Health Series (Exercise is Medicine, USA)
This section of the Exercise is Medicine website includes basic exercise information and a series of 4-page guides on how to be active with various medical conditions. Scroll down to see the guides on Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Last updated: November 2021