When arthritis is causing you pain, you probably are not interested in moving around or exercising. However, not moving can increase arthritic stiffness. Eventually, muscles will begin to weaken. The downward spiral will continue and movement will become even more difficult.
Exercise keeps you moving and increases range of motion. It helps to increase strength and flexibility and reduce joint pain. Exercise builds up muscle around the joints and surrounding tissue. Strong muscles help to stabilize weak joints, protecting them against further damage.
Exercise also helps to control body weight and promote a sense of well-being. Excess body weight aggravates arthritis by putting more strain on the joints. Exercise will also maintain and increase bone strength and density, and keep your heart healthy.
Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise regime. Ask what types of exercises are best for you. If you are participating in an exercise class tell the instructor about your condition; avoid harmful movements; do not overexert yourself; have fun.