Get Moving to Manage Osteoarthritis

Regular, moderate exercise offers numerous benefits to people with arthritis.

Exercise reduces joint pain and stiffness, builds strong muscle around the joints, and increases flexibility and endurance. It reduces inflammation from arthritis and related conditions and lowers the risk of other chronic conditions. It also helps promote overall health and fitness by giving one more energy, helping one sleep better, controlling one’s weight, decreasing depression, and giving one more self‑esteem. Furthermore, exercise can help stave off other health problems such as osteoporosis and heart disease.

Check out some of these arthritis-specific exercise classes and get moving to manage osteoarthritis:

  • Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP): AFEP (formerly People with Arthritis Can Exercise, or PACE) is a community-based recreational exercise program developed by the Arthritis Foundation. Trained AFEP instructors cover a variety of range-of-motion and endurance-building activities, relaxation techniques, and health education topics. All of the exercises can be modified to meet participant needs. The program’s demonstrated benefits include improved functional ability, decreased depression, and increased confidence in one’s ability to exercise. Classes typically meet two or three times per week. To find out about availability, check with the Arthritis Foundation (
  • Active Living Everyday (ALED): ALED is a group-based program developed at the Cooper Institute focused on helping sedentary people become and stay physically active. Participants learn behavioral skills (identifying and overcoming barriers, setting goals, creating an action plan) needed to become more physically active. Visit to find where the classroom courses are held or to sign up for an online course. 
  • Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program (AFAP): AFAP is a water exercise program created by the Arthritis Foundation for people with arthritis and related conditions. The classes are conducted by a trained instructor and are designed to improve flexibility, joint range of motion, endurance, strength, and daily function and to decrease pain. The aquatics classes include joint range of motion, stretching, breathing, and light aerobic activities. The classes typically meet two or three times per week for one hour. To find out about availability, check with the Arthritis Foundation (
  • EnhanceFitness (EF): EnhanceFitness (formerly Lifetime Fitness) is an evidence-based, community-delivered exercise program proven to increase strength, boost activity levels, and elevate mood. Certified EF instructors offer a program that focuses on stretching, flexibility, balance, low impact aerobics, and strength training exercises. Typically, classes meet three times a week for one hour.
  • Exercise online: Visit Arthritis Today to view expert-approved step-by-step photo and video demonstrations for exercises that are designed to be safe and effective for people with arthritis. Demonstrated exercises include stretching, tai chi, yoga, sitting exercises and surgery prep exercises.