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Joint Pain Exercises to Increase Strength and Flexibility

  • Feb 23 2022

How to Fight Arthritis with Exercise

Chronic joint pain caused by arthritis affects millions of Americans every year. Nearly half of adults with arthritis experience persistent pain, and for many this pain is severe. Living with the pain of arthritis can cause emotional distress, and inhibit the completion of everyday activities. Joint pain particularly affects the elderly, with nearly half of adults over 65 being diagnosed with arthritis. 

Group of older adults in swimming pool with foam flotation devices doing aquatic aerobics

As the population ages, more and more people will be living with this condition, and looking for solutions to ease their discomfort. Fortunately, this might be easier than you think. Joint pain exercises can be extremely useful in alleviating symptoms of arthritis. Keep reading to learn what you can do to mitigate the effects of arthritis in your life. 

Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors

Regardless of where you experience joint pain, performing exercises that improve strength and flexibility can have great benefits. There are actually a wide variety of easy activities that alleviate symptoms of arthritis. Staying mobile is a great and easy way to build strength and maintain mobility, especially in conjunction with physical therapy or other pain management techniques.


You might wonder, does walking actually help with joint pain? Luckily, the answer is yes! Walking costs nothing and is easy on your body, all while strengthening and toning the muscles that support your joints. This can help prevent aggravation in the joints, reducing painful inflammation. Aerobic activity like walking also has the added benefit of improving circulation, regulating blood pressure, and warding off heart disease.  


Riding your bike isn’t just a fun activity. It’s also great for your joints and will not aggravateOlder person at home doing strength and mobility exercises in a chair. arthritis. There are a wide range of ways to cycle, including stationary bikes and recumbent bikes, giving you the opportunity to control your position and intensity as needed to prevent pain. Biking regularly increases range of motion, and gives you the ability to gradually increase intensity, providing support for tender joints.

Aquatic Exercises

For individuals who need even lower-impact exercises, aquatic exercise provides an excellent option. Standing in shoulder-height water uses the body’s natural buoyancy to its advantage, alleviating pressure on the hips and knees. This is ideal for those who are just starting to exercise, or whose weight makes walking and standing difficult. The resistance of moving in water helps strengthen the muscles, and can relieve pain and improve mobility for those suffering from osteoarthritis.

Low-Impact Strength and Mobility Exercises to Do at Home

For seniors who have difficulty moving, or who have limited time and resources, finding the space and tools to effectively complete joint pain exercises may pose an additional challenge. Luckily, there are many exercises that can be easily completed in your own home. Here are some simple exercises recommended by the NHS to improve strength in the hips, knees, shoulders, and back. 


This one is simple. All it requires is a chair. Your knees should start bent at about 90 degrees when you’re sitting.

Happy seniors outside laughing together

  1. Sit at the edge of the chair, leaning slightly forward, with your feet about hip-width apart.
  2. Keeping your head level, slowly stand up. The slower you do this, the better. Do not put your hands on your knees or the chair for support.
  3. Once you’re fully upright, slowly sit back down. You can use your hands to guide you, but again, your full weight should be moved by your legs.
  4. Repeat. Five times is optimal, but you can work up to this if necessary. 

Supported Partial Squat

This one also uses a chair. You can use the same chair as the sit-to-stand if the back height comes to about your hip.

  1. Stand behind the chair with feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on the chair for support.
  2. Keeping your back straight, bend your knees as far as is comfortable. Ideally, your knee will be in line with your big toe.
  3. Clench your glutes (buttocks), and slowly return to standing position. 
  4. Repeat five times. 

Sideways Leg Lift

This one starts in the same position as the supported partial squat.

  1. Staying upright, raise your left leg to the side as far as is comfortable. Avoid tilting to the right or putting your weight on the chair.
  2. Slowly lower your leg and return to the starting position. 
  3. Follow the same steps for the right leg.
  4. Repeat five times for each leg.

Wall Press-Up

This is an excellent shoulder arthritis exercise. Even better, all you need is a wall.

  1. Stand arm’s length away from the wall, and place your hands on the wall, fingers pointing up, at chest height. 
  2. Keeping your back straight and your elbows out to the sides, slowly bend your arms. Go as far as is comfortable.
  3. Return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat, aiming for three sets of five to ten repetitions.

Getting the Arthritis Care You Need

Exercise can do wonders for alleviating the symptoms of arthritis, but often this alone is not sufficient to eliminate pain. Our orthopedics team is highly trained to provide exceptional care, and help you return to the activities you love, pain-free.

Seniors and anyone else experiencing joint pain in Syosset, Hicksville, Jericho, and all around New York state can take advantage of the talented SI Ortho staff at any of our three locations.

To learn more about how you can benefit from expert orthopedic treatment, call us anytime, or schedule an appointment online.

South Island Orthopedics’ Guide to Bone and Joint Care

Posted in: Arthritis, Pain Management