Benefits of Strength and Endurance Exercise for Arthritis

February 2024

Arthritis, with its diverse joint-related challenges, might seem like a barrier to exercise. However, research and experience reveal that well-designed strength and endurance exercises can be important for managing arthritis symptoms and improving overall joint health.

Let's delve into the benefits and explore some exercises tailored for people with arthritis.

Exercise for Arthritis:

#1. Pain Management: 

  • Benefit: Regular exercise can reduce arthritis-related pain by strengthening the muscles around joints and improving joint flexibility.
  • Exercise: Start with low-impact activities like walking or swimming. For more information, read our article on Walking and Arthritis. 

#2. Improved Joint Function: 

  • Benefit: Exercise enhances joint function by maintaining and improving range of motion.
  • Exercise: Gentle stretching exercises, such as yoga or tai chi, promote flexibility.

#3. Weight Management: 

  • Benefit: Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for managing arthritis. Exercise contributes to weight control and reduces stress on weight-bearing joints.
  • Exercise: Combine aerobic exercises, like brisk walking or cycling, with strength training.

#4. Enhanced Muscle Strength: 

  • Benefit: Strengthening muscles around joints provides added support, reducing the load on the joints themselves.
  • Exercise: Incorporate resistance training with light weights or resistance bands.

#5. Cardiovascular Health: 

  • Benefit: Endurance exercises improve cardiovascular health, promoting overall wellbeing.
  • Exercise: Engage in low-impact aerobic activities like swimming or cycling.

#6. Joint Stability: 

  • Benefit: Exercises that focus on balance and stability can reduce the risk of falls and injuries.
  • Exercise: Include balance exercises such as standing on one leg or heel-to-toe walking.

Guidelines for Arthritis-Friendly Exercises:

#1. Consultation is Key: 

  • Action: Consult with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen.

#2. Start Slow and Gradual:

  • Action: Begin with low-intensity exercises and gradually increase duration and intensity.

#3. Warm-Up and Cool Down:

  • Action: Always warm up with gentle stretching before exercising and cool down afterward.

#4. Low-Impact Aerobics: 

  • Action: Choose activities that are easy on the joints, such as swimming, cycling, or water aerobics.

#5. Strength Training Techniques:

  • Action: Use proper form when lifting weights or using resistance bands to avoid joint strain.
  • Tip: Start with light resistance and higher repetitions. Focus on controlled, smooth movements. For more information, read our article on The Benefits of Strength Training. 

#6. Balance and Flexibility:

  • Action: Incorporate exercises that improve balance and flexibility, like yoga or tai chi.
  • Tip: Perform static stretches after your warm-up and include balance exercises in your routine. For more information, read our article on Protecting Your Joints.

#7. Listen to Your Body:

  • Action: Pay attention to how your body responds to different exercises.

Sample Exercise Routine: 

#1. Warm-Up: Gentle joint rotations and dynamic stretches (e.g., arm circles, leg swings) for 5-10 minutes.

#2. Aerobic Exercise: 10-20 minutes of brisk walking, cycling, or swimming.

#3. Strength Training: Body weight exercises like squats, lunges, and wall push-ups for 10-15 minutes.

#4. Flexibility and Balance: 10 minutes of yoga or tai chi incorporating gentle stretches and balance poses.

#5. Cool Down: Slow-paced walking and static stretches for 10 minutes.

Exercise is a dynamic tool in the management of arthritis, fostering joint health, reducing pain, and enhancing overall wellbeing.

The key is to embrace a well-rounded approach that combines strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility exercises.

Always prioritise your safety, consult with healthcare professionals, and tailor your exercise routine to your specific needs. 

With consistency and proper guidance, you can unlock the transformative benefits of exercise on your journey to managing arthritis.

How can we help? 


Always talk to your doctor and/or health professional before starting an exercise program. A physiotherapist or exercise physiologist can suggest safe exercises and make sure you are doing your exercises correctly.

You can make a difference by supporting the work of Arthritis Queensland. Arthritis Queensland is 95% community funded. We rely on our generous donors and volunteers to ensure that we can continue to provide solutions and support to adults and children living with the pain of arthritis.