Physical Activity and Exercise
Undertaking exercise and physical activity is one of the best ways to helping your OA. Most types of activitites are safe and will not make your OA worse. But you need to find an activity that suits you. Decisions about the type of exercise or physical activity should be based on your personal preference, your ability, their availability, access and cost.
If you are new to exercise speak to your GP, physiotherapist or other health care professional on what is best for you.
Remember to work to your ability.
Aerobic activity: Aerobic activities get your heart rate up and are good for people with OA. These types of activities are important for general health and maintaining a healthy weight. Some examples are walking, jogging, cycling and swimming.
Strength and resistance exercises: are used to strengthen specific muscles around the affected joint/s. You can undertake body weight exercises or seated exercises (e.g. squats, seated knee extensions), or using free weights, resistance machines or resistance bands. Click here for a video on exercises for knee pain (University of Melbourne/University of Queensland).
Mind body and balance exercises: Mind body exercises such as yoga or Tai Chi, and balance exercises can help with your OA and can help improve balance and coordination. Walking on soft surfaces or standing on single leg balancing are examples that you can do at home.
Water based exercise: Exercise in the water such as aqua-aerobics or swimming is good for your joints and strengthening your muscles, especially if you have severe pain or have trouble walking on land.
General physical activity: It is important to keep moving to keep your joints moving smoothly. Any activity that gets you moving is important to do. Walking to work, gardening, dancing or walking the dog are all good examples.
Tracking devices: Fitness trackers, smartwatches and mobile phone apps are a good way of tracking your daily activity and food intake. You can set a daily goal and even invite friends so you motivate each other to reach your goals together.