Arthritis can be a debilitating disease, but it doesn’t have to keep you immobile. Exercise can help tremendously, so check out these exercises for arthritic knees and hips. Arthritis exercise for seniors is important! Exercises for seniors can change your life completely!

people working arthritic hips in the gym

I have been teaching arthritis exercise classes at work for 17 years. I love helping people gain more mobility and quality of life through movement. My students tell me over and over again how exercising has changed their quality of life. And they tell me when they miss class, they feel the pain returning. I want to help you find that too.

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

The knees and hips are the most important joints to take care of to be mobile. You need them to walk, climb stairs, and do basic tasks. So in my classes, I focus on keeping them loosened up and working as well as they can.

Remember when doing any exercises, stop if it hurt. No pain, no gain is invalid when you’re working with arthritis. Pain means damage. So listen to your body closely.

Your body creates its own pain medicine when you exercise. It releases them into your extremities so movement really does help manage the pain. There are so many benefits to exercise. Don’t forget to use it or lose it.

Exercises for strengthening knees

Start by sitting comfortably in a chair for leg extensions. Lift your leg straight out in front of you slowly and controlled. Then slowly lower it back down. Do this 5 times on each leg and work your way to 3 sets of 12 over time. Don’t rush it. Progress will be slow, so give yourself time.

Now, if you find pain in that knee, you can do these leg extensions by lifting your leg out straight and holding it for a count of 10. This will give less friction in the knee joint but still give you the resistance of the exercise. Start with 1 and work your way up to 6 times on each leg.

Knee osteoarthritis exercises for elderly

Now stand up and do some standing leg curls. Steady yourself with your hand. Slowly lift your foot up behind you by bending your knee, and then slowly lower it back down. Start with 12 on each side and work your way up to 3 sets of 12.

Next is mini squats. Steady yourself again and bend your knees, hips, and back slowly as you pretend like you’re sitting down. Lean forward slightly. Just do a little bit at first and work your way to almost a seated position. This exercise is great to help work the muscles that help you get up and down from a chair. So it’s great for mobility. Start with 5 and work your way to a more advanced position and 3 sets of 12.

older woman working out on a stationary bike in the gym to work arthritic knees and hips

Cardio exercises for bad knees

These cardio exercises are great for arthritic knees AND hips. So you get a lot of band for your buck. They are also low-impact exercises that help protect joints as you move.

Recumbent bike. On the recumbent bike, you can control the angle your knees travel so it’s a great piece of equipment for bad knees. Start with the lowest setting on the bike and try to go 5 minutes. As you continue to get in better shape, try to increase your time to 30 minutes. Once you can manage 30 minutes, increase the resistance on the bike. Not too much though, just 1 or 2 levels up. We don’t want to do more knee damage.

Swimming and water aerobics are perfect for arthritic knees and hips because being in the water protects you from impact and putting more pressure on tender joints. But it does allow you to get resistance and great cardio. You will improve your range of motion and balance with your workout in the pool. You can also water walk the lanes for a great cardio benefit.

Exercises for arthritis hips

We will start with chair exercises for the hips. In a seated position, march in place with your feet. Lift one foot and then the other as high as you are able. Start with 5 on each side and work your way to 3 sets of 12.

Next, lift your right foot up and place it on your left foot. Slowly lift your right foot sliding it up your shin as far as you can towards the knee. Then slowly back down again. This is called a shin slide. Start with 5 on each side and work your way up to 3 sets of 12.

Next, get down on the floor and do floor bridges. Lay on your back and bend your knees. Slowly lift your butt off the floor slightly in small motions. Don’t arch your back up or go all crazy, just small movements. Start with 10 and work your way up to 3 sets of 12.

woman doing floor bridges on the grass outside

In that same position, bring one knee up to your chest as far as you can. Slowly lower it back down and do the other side. Start with 10 on each side and work your way to 3 sets of 12. If you need to, put your hands under the small of your back to protect it. For more resistance, extend the leg you’re lifting out as you gain strength. Keep the other knee bent to protect your back.

Now stand up and we’ll do some more leg lifts for arthritis hips. Steady yourself with your hand and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly lift one leg out to the side and carefully lower it back. Then lift it to the front and back again. And finally to the back and down again. Then do the other side. Start with 5 sets for each leg and work your way to 3 sets of 12.

Stretches for hip arthritis

Now we will stretch. Sit down in your hair and bring one foot up onto the opposite knee. Lean forward gently and hold for 10. Then do the other side.

Now drop one knee down on the side of the chair and push your foot back gently as far as you can. Hold that for 10 and then do the other side.

Stand up bend over and try to touch the floor. Hold that for 10.

This workout is going to change your mobility and your life. For more ideas, search for all kinds of great exercises for beginners on the blog. There are ideas for cardio workouts, strength training, and stretching exercises as well.

I recommend you try the gym and group fitness classes. You have the extra benefit of socializing with others that face the same obstacles to exercise that you do. And if you need help getting started on the gym equipment, you can ask for a tour and instruction or even hire a personal trainer to teach you the ways.

For more exercises for seniors, check these out:

You’re going to be amazed at how much better you will feel with these exercises for arthritic knees and hips. Keep moving, you’re important and you’re worth it! Now for joke: Things always have a way of going badly for me. I tried to use pins on a voodoo doll that looks like my mother in law and I ended up curing her arthritis with acupuncture. Wakka wakka wakka!