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Motion is Lotion: How Exercise Can Help Mitigate and Prevent Joint Pain

Joint pain can make even the simplest tasks difficult. Even making a fist or climbing stairs can become challenging. However, frequently many people mistakenly believe that physical activity has become too difficult and could cause the pain to become even worse. However, sometimes the opposite is true. The more your joints move, the more natural lubrication they receive to remain healthy and cause you less pain.

Of course, some exercises are better for joint pain than others. For example, long runs will likely cause wear and tear to your joints. But low-impact exercises like walking and swimming are a win-win: not only will you be able to remain active and you will alleviate pain.  And improve the lubrication of your joints.

For most people who live with joint pain, these low-impact exercises are smart, proven options.


Biking – either indoor or outdoor – is an excellent exercise for those who suffer from joint pain or want to avoid developing it. This activity is low impact (meaning, less stress on the joints) and can also stimulate the muscles. This can help to decrease pain while stimulating motion and mobility. Biking can help build up your quadriceps, which can help alleviate pressure and pain if you have bad knees. Start out slow and eventually work your way up to 30-minute sessions on the bike.

Strength Training

One of the goals of exercising when you have joint pain is to build up the muscles around those joints. Strength training can help increase the capacity of the muscles surrounding the joints and stabilize them which can result in less pain. Talk to your doctor or a trainer or physical therapist before starting and ask them what the most appropriate training routine will be for you.

Elliptical Machines

Elliptical machines are a low-impact alternative to running and jogging.

They provide both high intensity interval training and steady-state cardio workouts. These aerobic workouts can strengthen your heart, lungs, and muscles which can help build your stamina and endurance. Ellipticals go easy on your joints, and simultaneously build muscles in your legs, which can help lower knee and ankle pain.

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Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27386811/