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Arthritis and Physical Activity

Arthritis affects 54.4 million adults and is the most common cause of disability in the United States.

Currently, more than 22.7% of U.S. adults have arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, causing pain most often in the hands, hips, and knees.

Physical activity is beneficial for people with arthritis and can help:

  • Reduce pain and stiffness
  • Improve function and mobility
  • Improve mood and quality of life
  • Manage associated conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity
  • Delay disability related to arthritis
  • Reduce the risk of falls
  • Improve muscle strength which can reduce joint pain

Physical activity is safe and well-tolerated when adjusted to individual needs and abilities. It’s always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any physical activity routine.

CDC guidelines for all adults:

  • Be as active as you can—anything that gets your heart beating faster counts!
  • Aim for least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity.
  • Include muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days per week
  • See the latest guidelines here:

Examples of Moderate and Vigorous Intensity Aerobic Activities

Moderate Intensity Vigorous Intensity
  • Brisk Walking
  • Bicycling
  • Swimming
  • Mowing the grass, heavy yard work
  • Doubles tennis
  • Social dancing
  • Conditioning Machines (e.g., stair climbers, elliptical, stationary bike)
  • Tai Chi, yoga
  • Sports (e.g., softball, baseball, volleyball)
  • Skiing, roller and ice skating
  • Jogging/running
  • Singles tennis
  • Swimming
  • Jumping rope
  • Conditioning Machines (e.g., stair climbers, elliptical, stationary bike)
  • Sports (e.g., soccer, basketball, football, racquetball)
  • Aerobic dance or spinning classes




Walking is a great way to begin to include physical activity as part of your daily routine. It is free, readily available, low impact, provides numerous health benefits, and is safe for people with a variety of health conditions, including arthritis.

Want to get started safely and comfortably on a walking program?

Check out Walk With Ease, a program that is proven to reduce pain, increase balance and strength, and improve overall health! Want to start now? Check out our Walk With Ease Guidebook giveaway at and get your free book today!

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