By Juliane Morris

When osteoarthritis jeopardizes your mobility, exercise can keep you moving.

Ensuring that muscles and surrounding tissues are strong is essential to provide support for osteoarthritis.  Without proper exercise, supporting muscles are weakened, creating more stress on joints.

For people with arthritis and related joint pain and stiffness, gentle exercise improves strength and flexibility of the muscles around joints.  Gentle exercise also helps with bone strength, improves balance, weight control, and can diminish joint pain and fatigue. 

These three exercises help with range of motion, strength, balance and a touch of aerobic benefit.  Move gently with low impact, breathing slowly and deeply.

1. The Seated Side Stretch
Sit tall and comfortably positioned with your legs crossed.  Tighten your core, checking that you are seated straight upright.  Relax your face, jaw and shoulders.  Raise one arm overhead and lean to the opposite side for a side body stretch and core muscle engagement practice.  Hold for a count of six seconds, breathing in and out with each two second mark.  Return to center and lower arm.  Repeat on other side.  Repeat the sequence twice.

2. The Upright & Open

Stand upright with your legs as far apart as comfortable, about one and a half wider than hip distance.  Tighten your core.  Raise your arms up, equally wide as your legs.  Open the palms of your hands upward to the sky, turning your face slightly upward.  Breath in and out slowly for a count of twelve seconds.  Bring your hands together to your chest and legs together, recentering tall and upright.  Repeat the sequence twice.

3. The Tall Tree

Standing tall and with your feet planted hip width apart, tighten your core and lift one foot, placing the bottom of it onto the inner calf area of the other leg, pressing against the tall and straight leg for stability.  Then raise your arms above your head, joining your fingers while still tightening your core for balance exercise and muscle engagement.  Hold for a count of four seconds.  Repeat on the other side.  Repeat the sequence twice.

Gentle exercise also helps with bone strength, improves balance, weight control, and can diminish joint pain and fatigue.


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