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Sheltering Arms Blog

How Much Exercise is Enough When You Have Arthritis?

Posted on: January 9, 2019 by Clinicians Editor

Between 2013 and 2015, 22.7 percent of Americans were diagnosed by a medical doctor with some form of arthritis. The most commonly diagnosed type is osteoarthritis, although other conditions include gout, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is widely known that exercise can help to improve function, decrease pain, and improve overall quality of life for individuals managing their arthritis symptoms, but how much exercise is enough?

Current federal guidelines for adults recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week (or a combination of both). These recommendations are important because research has shown that people who are more active have lower rates of coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, colon cancer, breast cancer, and depression.

Unfortunately, people with arthritis are not meeting those guidelines because they are in too much pain. The CDC reports that 23.6 percent of adults with arthritis are not completing any leisure time physical activity, like walking, gardening, swimming, and completing household chores.

Last year, a study was published** that changed the game for Americans struggling to manage their knee arthritis pain. The new study reports that adults with arthritis only need to spend 45 minutes a week completing moderate to vigorous exercise in order to improve or maintain high function. That’s less than seven minutes a day if you exercise every day of the week!

So what can you do to manage your arthritis pain at home? Well, there are several options, but the best and most simple way is to simply start moving more! Seven minutes of exercise or activity a day is achievable and can help improve function and decrease your pain. Below are some examples of vigorous and moderate intensity activities that you can add in to your daily routine.

Moderate Intensity Activities
· Brisk walking
· Bicycling
· Water aerobics
· Social dancing
· Tai chi
· Yoga
· Mowing the grass

Vigorous Intensity Activities
· Jogging/running
· Spinning class
· Jumping rope
· Zumba or other aerobic dance classes

If you’re having trouble managing your pain and want to start exercising but don’t know how, call 877-56-REHAB to make an appointment with your physical therapist so you can get moving again!