Is Exercising With Joint Pain a Good Idea?

exercise with joint pain

Synopsis: Joint pain and inflammation can create anxiety when it comes to determining if exercise is a good idea or not. Generally speaking, movement is very recommended, but there are specific exercises that are more recommended for helping alleviate joint pain.

When you have joint pain, the last thing you probably feel like doing is exercising. You probably don’t even want to move too much if you have knee joint pain, the first step of course is to seek knee compression sleeve reviews. Here’s the kicker though – movement (when don’t correctly!) can actually relieve joint pain, and proper exercise can help heal the inflammation that is causing the pain. Joint pain can be caused by a multitude of issues including strain, injury, overuse, arthritis or inflammation from diet. Of course, every instance of joint pain is different and ideally you should get a medical professional to take a look and make sure there isn’t something more serious going on. But if you’ve gotten clearance that you’re ok doing movement and exercise without causing further damage to your joints, we’ve gathered some excellent exercises you can do to alleviate joint pain.

The word ‘exercise’ shouldn’t be spark fear – exercise doesn’t need to difficult, intense, or long in duration to be effective. And really, any movement when done purposefully can be considered exercise! In the end, movement, any movement, is healthy and will help move you toward a healthier body. And when you feel better you’re more likely to move more, so starting the ‘snowball effect’ so to speak – exercise to reduce joint pain results in wanting to move, which results in an even healthier lifestyle, and so on – is a great goal to start working on!


Did you know that when you perform stretching exercises, you’re not only stretching muscles to improve flexibility but also tendons? Both of those soft tissues need mobility training to help keep us flexible – and that same stretching can help ease joint pain as well. Stretching helps with mobility, and improving mobility often equates with improving pain as well. 

The added benefit of regular stretching is helping increase blood flow to the extremities which also helps with pain and inflammation reduction. Stretching immediately in the morning (even before getting out of bed!) helps facilitate better blood flow, ‘waking up’ the muscles and joints which have stiffened with sleep. Make it a part of your morning routine: before arising, stretch your hands overhead and point your toes so your whole body is straight like a pencil. Stretch long on your inhale and relax a bit of the exhale. Do some gentle knee hugs, wrist and ankle rotations, then sit up and do some easy toe touches. This simple routine can be incredibly beneficial. 

Yoga and Pilates

Want to take your stretching routine to the next level to help reduce joint pain (and improve flexibility and overall wellness)? Yoga can be a great way to add gentle movement while maximizing the benefit that stretching can offer stiff and sore knees, elbows, hips and other joints. But there’s even more benefit than just simple movement.

When you perform the different flow routines of yoga, or even simply holding various poses to deepen the stretch, you’re also strengthening those muscles, particularly the ones that support your joints. The stronger those muscles are, the better support they provide to joints which means, you guessed it, less pain. Have you ever heard a fitness instructor helping a client with bad knees – they’ll provide direction to work on strengthening the muscles that support the knees (quadriceps and hamstrings) which will increase the support and reduce pain.

But not only that, yoga also teaches you about proper alignment – in yoga, standing, sitting, laying, twisting, etc is common but the focus is always on proper form. When you practice with proper form, a good yoga instructor will help guide you in moving your body correctly and in tweaking your movements so that your skeleton is in proper alignment – which can go a long way to reducing pain not only in joints but in your whole body.

Pilates also focuses on alignment and stretching, but takes a more ‘active movement approach.’ Because the movements in Pilates are more gentle, low impact and can be adjusted easily on your capabilities, it can be an excellent choice for helping reduce joint pain.

Water Exercises

The buoyant force of water on the body makes it an excellent low impact exercise for those suffering from joint discomfort. Because water takes on some of the weight of the body, there is a lot less stress on joints, at the same time providing resistance as you move through the water (either by swimming, or even just walking and moving your arms against the pressure of the water). That resistance helps build muscle tone, which as mentioned above, can help support joints. The body can move easier in the water, thereby allowing the exerciser the opportunity to work on their health and wellness more comfortably at the same time working on joint issues.

Walking and Cycling

Other low impact exercises include walking and cycling. Both include repetitive movements, but ones that keep your joints in good and proper alignment. Cycling requires a lot of bending of the hips and knees, but not overly to the point that it could injure them. Walking is gentle on all the joints but adding this regularly to your routine can actually lead to some amazing improvements in joint health and overall well-being. Don’t discount the simplistic nature of these two exercises – both hold powerful keys to improving your joint issues.

Strength Training

This non-aerobic type of exercise is essential for improving joint health. As mentioned previously, stronger muscles are able to better support joints. Improving your strength through lifting – either by using free weights or resistance bands, or even strength exercises that only use bodyweight like squats and push-ups – are a great way to increase your muscle mass to help support every joint in your body. 

One important note with strength training – if you are new to lifting, you may want to seek the advice of a personal trainer to learn proper form. Many exercises are simple, but there are some that can cause serious injury and pain if done incorrectly. Learn from a pro first to get the best benefit from strength training. Additionally, if you experience increased joint pain while lifting, try reducing the amount of weight you’re using, ensure you’re using good form, and consider the use of a compression garment like these from to help alleviate discomfort and to make sure you don’t further injure yourself.

Natural movement, group exercise and regular stretching techniques can go a long way in improving how you feel while moving. Use these tips to increase your mobility for years to come!

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