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Joint pain is a very common problem with many possible causes, but it’s most often a result of injury, arthritis, posture problems, aging or simple inactivity. The stiffness and fatigue that can come with joint pain might make exercising the last thing you want to do, but staying active and moving is crucial in managing joint pain.

Why is exercise so important for joint pain?

There are very few downsides to getting active! Inactivity can damage your posture and weaken your muscles, making existing joint trouble even worse. Exercise, on the other hand, can:

  • Strengthen your muscles and joints.

  • Reduce your pain levels.

  • Ease depression and fatigue.

  • Help you to sleep better.

  • Improve general daily functioning.

In fact, Harvard Medical School calls exercise “the secret to joint pain relief”. In addition to easing joint pain, Harvard says that exercise is good for your heart, mental health, blood pressure, stress levels, and longevity. As a bonus, it also helps you to maintain a healthy body weight, which means less strain on your joints.

Which exercises can help?

Walking provides gentle exercise for painful joints and it can help you maintain a healthy weight. It supports bone and heart health, the latter of which is especially important for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise for people in chronic pain. Not only is it proven to soothe joint and muscular pain, it’s also a great exercise for overall health and wellbeing.

Strength training focuses on building up your muscle strength and mass. Strong muscles provide essential support and stability to the joints, reducing pain and protecting against joint injury. Start very lightly and do 12 repetitions with weights you can comfortably lift, gradually increasing the weight as you get stronger.

Cycling is a great low-impact exercise that gets your heart pumping without straining your joints. Enjoy the outdoors with a gentle, scenic bike ride. If that feels too strenuous, use an electric bike for a boost, or try an exercise bike at home.

Yoga and Pilates both help to improve flexibility and range of motion in your joints. They’re great for easing stiffness and pressure, and they also help to slowly and steadily build muscle strength. Be sure to attend an instructor-led class (there are lots online), as a teacher can help you avoid injury by advising on proper form and modifying difficult positions.

You can keep active at home, too! Try everyday tasks like light cleaning and gardening, or use these gentle exercises from Arthritis Action and Versus Arthritis to help relieve joint pain.

Use the Weather Flare app to plan which days to exercise outdoors, and when to hit the gym or exercise at home. Spending time outdoors offers a change of scenery and a boost to your mental health, so it’s good to know when you can hit the park! You can also see when a particular weather trigger for your pain is approaching, so you can make an extra effort to stay active and stave off the pain.

The Weather Flare app is now available to download on iOS and Android, and has been designed to help people navigate weather triggers for their chronic conditions. Download it today and see how much it can help you! As we’re currently in the beta testing phase of the app, we’d love you to send us your feedback so we can make it even more useful.

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