Arthritis severely affects the joints. But you don’t have to live with it in full effect. These arthritis exercise ideas for seniors can improve the quality of your life exponentially.

senior woman doing arthritis exercise with her arms outside

Remember, before starting ANY kind of exercise, consult with your doctor to make sure they recommend it.

Arthritis can debilitate your life, but studies show that exercise severely affects symptoms of it. So get moving and you’ll feel a lot better than you did if you don’t. It can cause swelling, pain, stiffness, and more. It limits the range of motion in your limbs. There are over 100 types of arthritis, but the most common are rheumatoid and osteo.

I teach arthritis exercise and joint flex. I specialize in helping seniors with arthritis. I work with countless numbers of people in my group classes, in the gym working out, and in my personal training sessions. I love working with older people. It’s my jam.

There is no immediate cure for the disease, just management. And anyone can have arthritis, you don’t have to be older. Weight gain causes a higher risk because there is more pressure on your joints. But a big treatment is exercise. You can restore some movement and reduce some of the pain. Exercise is natural pain relief!

Exercise can be challenging if you have arthritic joints. Don’t expect to get a lot done during your first or second attempt. Be patient so you don’t make it worse causing more pain and stiffness from overdoing it. Start out with 5 minutes a day or 10 if it’s easy for you. Once your joints get used to it, they will move easier and you can increase faster.

If you push through the pain, you can cause yourself serious injury. If you feel any pain, stop and move in a more comfortable way. Break it down into smaller sessions. Once you are doing more, instead of doing an hour at one time, do several 10-minute sessions at different times. Take breaks and drink lots of water for less stress on the joints. You can increase your joint health over time.

The close your fist arthritis exercise keeps your fingers flexible and makes your knuckles less stiff and painful. You can use a rubber ball, but you don’t have to. Slowly make a fist with your hand and hold it for at least 5 seconds. Slowly relax the hand completely until flat. Repeat this 5 times and work your way up to 20 over time. And don’t forget to make sure you are using proper form to reduce the risk of injury and get the most from each movement.

Now let’s curl the hand into an o shape. This really helps restore mobility in your hands. Cup your hand like you’re holding a glass of water. Bend your thumb and fingers in an o shape. You can go from the o to the close your fist when you advance that far. Start with 5 os and work your way up to 20.

Stretching exercises for seniors

Bending your wrist helps loosen up stiff wrists. Place your forearms on a flat surface with your elbows bent. Face your palms upwards. Bend your hand at your wrist and point to the ceiling with your fingertips. Gently push against your open hand with your other hand. Hold for the count of 10 and then push your hand forward and count to 10 again. Repeat this 5 times and work your way up to 20.

Now let’s try a seated stretch for your bottom half. Sit on the floor. If you can’t get down there, try it in a chair and work your way up to getting on the floor. Sit upright and extend your legs in front of you. Slowly bend forward as if you’re reaching to touch your toes. Go as far as you can and hold it for a count of 10. This will gradually affect your flexibility and mobility in your hips, knees, and even waist.

Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift one leg and point your big toe down. Move your foot as if you’re sketching a circle on the floor. Do it gently. Draw at least 5 circles and then do the other foot. If you’re having trouble standing for this, start in a seated position until you can do it standing. Once you have mastered 5 circles on each foot, work your way up to 20 each.

knee with hands grasping it and red around it showing arthritis pain

Leg strengthing exercises for seniors

The chair stand is a good exercise for strengthening the knee and ankle. Use a chair with armrests for support. Sit in the chair and stand up and sit down using controlled motions. As you practice, you’ll use your arms less and your legs more. Start with 5 and work your way up to 10.

Now find a step and balance yourself with the wall. Climb the step and then back down again. Then use the other leg, climb the step and back down again in slow motions. This reduces pain making it easier to walk without support. Start with 5 on each side and work your way up to 10.

Water exercises for seniors

Swimming is one of the best exercises for people with arthritis. It takes all of the weight off your joints so you can work on mobility and building strength without damaging the joints. You don’t have to be able to swim.

You can walk in deep water, swim laps, use a water jogging belt, or do whatever kind of water exercise you enjoy. You can also take classes such as water aerobics to increase your workout.

There are also other activities besides simple exercises that can help with joint and arthritis pain. Some of the best ones are listed below.

Walking helps keep your arthritis from flaring up. It’s free, low impact, and easy. Just walk about the block to start out and you can also find a walking plan to follow as you increase your workout. You can use this running plan and keep it at a walk for beginners.

Yoga is a great way to reduce arthritic swelling and pain. Work with an instructor that understands arthritis so you don’t make your situation worse. Pilates and Tai Chi are other great arthritis exercises to try. Don’t forget about dancing. It is a wonderful workout as well. Try these Balance exercises for seniors to keep your mobility longer.

older man holding elbow because of arthritis pain

Golf exercises for seniors

Golf is beneficial for people with arthritis. It’s outdoors and the movements improve flexibility. It also improves joint and muscle strength as well as coordination, range of motion, and balance.

Don’t forget to start slow, listen to your pain and make modifications, choose gentle actions, and talk to a professional about what you should be doing.

Staying still is the worst thing you can do if you have arthritis. Listen to your body and go at its pace, but do keep moving or start moving more.

I believe in you and I know that if I can do it, you can too! I’m excited to hear how you are doing in a few weeks after you start these arthritis exercises! And remember to think about the 5 top worst foods for arthritis. That can help with pain management too!

Now for a joke:

What did the joints say to the arthritis pain?

Uh-Leave. Bah ha ha ha! That’s a good one!