Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage at the ends of your bones to wear away at a higher rate than your body can replace it. This can make moving painful as the bone ends rub against each other without the protective cartilage between them. Strengthening the muscles in your joints with the following exercises will slow the cartilage damage and let you move easier.
Stand up with your back against a wall. Bend your knees and slowly slide your back down the wall until you are roughly in a sitting position. Slide yourself back up the wall and repeat. This builds up muscles in your hips and knees. Hold onto a chair to one side if you feel unsteady while doing this routine.
Sit on the floor with one leg straight out in front of you and the other leg bent at the knee. Slowly bend forward at your waist toward the outstretched leg while pushing that leg down onto the floor. This stretches the calf, knee and hip muscles.
Stand up straight behind a chair. Hold onto the back of the chair, bend your knees and slowly lower yourself to a squatting position. Go down as far as your knees will allow you to go without pain. Push yourself back up using your legs and knees. This focuses on the muscles in your legs and knees.
Lie down on your back on the floor. Place your hands on your chest. Keeping your head and neck straight, raise them up off of the floor a few inches. Hold that position for a few seconds then settle back to the floor slowly. This stretches the muscles in your upper back and abdomen, good for fighting osteoarthritis in your spine.
Stand with your arms stretched out to your sides, perpendicular to your body. Make small circles with your arms in one direction for a few seconds, then reverse the direction. This helps the muscles in your shoulders and upper arms.
Stand up straight with the back of a chair next to you. Hold onto the back of the chair and take a step forward while bending your knees, lowering your body until your back knee is a few inches from the ground. Stand back up and repeat with the other leg. If you feel steady, try this without the chair. This exercise works on the knee and hip muscles and helps you with your balance, if done without the chair.
Getting a Low-Impact Workout
If you experience pain with these exercises, try a type of physical therapy called water aerobics. You can do many of the same exercises, but the water cushions your muscles and bones. The water also provides resistance to your muscles so you get a gentler workout.
Strengthening your muscles with these exercises promotes bone growth and slows the damage done to your joints by the osteoarthritis. Your joints will be more flexible. You'll be more active when you have less of the nagging joint pain. For more tips, contact a facility like Advanced Physical Therapy.