How to Exercise with Osteoarthritis of the Knee

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When a patient has arthritis pain in the knee, exercise may not be at the top of the list of desired activities. However, exercise can help increase flexibility, range of motion, muscle strength, and can help control weight. It also can help strengthen bones and ligaments. Here are exercise suggestions that can help your osteoarthritis.


Maintaining a healthy weight and staying active is good for the entire body. A brisk walk will help increase blood flow and build the muscles around the knee. Walking is a low-impact activity as well, so you are not damaging the joint while exercising.


Cycling is another example of a low-impact activity that will raise your heart rate and help you stay in shape. The motion of the pedals is natural on the knees since it does not force your leg to extend or bend farther than it should.

Water aerobics

Water aerobics are the trademark "low-impact" activity for people with osteoarthritis. The buoyancy of the water helps to alleviate any strain or pressure on joints, yet it provides enough resistance for a satisfying work out.


Yoga stretches the muscles, increases stamina and improves core strength. It is a perfect type of exercise for people with osteoarthritis since it does not put much strain on your joints, yet provides both strengthening and stretching benefits.


Similar to yoga, pilates both stretches and strengthens the body. Pilates is known for its core strengthening values, which are key elements in maintaining good posture and protecting your knees.


Swimming provides a low-impact workout while providing excellent cardiovascular training.

Weight machines

Strengthening the muscles around the knee can help protect the diseased cartilage from constant rubbing. However, be careful not to push too hard – osteoarthritis is painful and could cause poor form, which could lead to further injury.

Physical therapy

A physical therapist can put together the ideal exercise routine for you and your condition. The regimen can include the right amount of strengthening and stretching while preventing you from overdoing it.