What Exercises Are Best for People With Arthritis?

I have rheumatoid arthritis. What is a good workout that will help with flexibility, keep me in shape and get my heart pumping?

Best Exercises for People Who Have Arthritis

There are several ways to workout when your body doesn’t work for you! For instance, you could swim or do restorative yoga. In your case, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) responds well to swimming. As you know, RA is a chronic inflammatory condition of the synovial joint. A synovial joint is a cavity between bones filled with synovial fluid. The synovial fluid helps lubricate, and protect the bones and provide mobility for the joint. Due to the buoyant nature of water, swimming does not stress the joints and it gives your muscles, heart and lungs a fantastic workout.

The benefits of a swim workout include:

  • Increased circulation: Warm water raises your body temperature, causing your blood vessels to dilate, which increases circulation.
  • Increased muscle strength: Water not only supports your joints and encourages free movement, but it also acts as resistance to help build muscles.
  • Increased oxygen uptake: A regular swim routine can enable your body to increase its use of oxygen by 20 percent, resulting in your heart pumping more blood with each beat.

So…into the pool! All you need is a swimsuit, goggles and a swim cap.

If you jump into the pool and commence laps right way, you will probably find yourself exhausted and gasping for air. So, enter the pool slowly and give your body time to adjust to the temperature and the feel of the water. Use the side of the pool for support and then gently stretch you calves, quadriceps, shoulders and neck. Start with a warm- up lap. If you are lucky enough to be in a lane pool, where you can touch the bottom, you may want to walk the first lap.

If all you do is one lap, then that’s one lap you didn’t do yesterday, and next time you may be able to do one more. Set a goal. For example: I want to swim 3 laps continuously, or I want to swim 25 laps over the next 10 days. These are the kind of fitness goals that are achievable and make the return to exercise successful. They are called S.M.A.R.T. goals:


One way to ensure you get the most out of the workout is to perform your strokes correctly. Common mistakes such as swinging your head or whipping your arm can result in muscles strains and excessive fatigue. Visit this site for your step to step guide on swim strokes.

Swimming aids:

Pull-buoy: Two foam cylinders held together with cords. Place it between your thighs to allow your legs to float up on top of the water. This will allow you to isolate your arm movements without the use of your legs.

Paddle Board: Grab a flat foam board with your hands to keep the upper-body afloat. This will allow you to isolate your leg movements without the use of your arms.

Consider a few lessons to ensure that you are exercising to your maximum potential.

Author by Sarah Brown