According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise is crucial for those with arthritis.

Many people with arthritis avoid exercise because it can be painful and they fear that it will make their arthritis worse. This is not true if you are doing the right type of exercise at proper intensities. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, exercise is crucial for those with arthritis.

You don’t need to exercise vigorously to reduce your arthritis pain. Moderate exercise can ease the pain so don’t let your arthritis keep you from starting to move in the first place.

Many fear that moving will aggravate their joint pain, but this isn’t typically true. Being immobile and not exercising almost always makes joints even more stiff and painful for arthritis sufferers.

I have listed some of the benefits of exercise for arthritis below.

1. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies have shown that participation in moderate intensity, low impact exercise improves function, pain, mood, and quality of life without worsening the severity or symptoms of arthritis.

2. The onset of disability caused by arthritis has been shown to be delayed by physical activity.

3. Exercise strengthens the muscles around your joints, creating more stability and improving balance.

4. It is important to move to help maintain bone strength. Your bones need to bear weight regularly to stay strong and prevent breaks.

5. While you are exercising to combat arthritis, you are also combating other possible health problems like diabetes and heart disease.

6. The exercise will also give you more energy during the day and help you sleep better at night.

It is very difficult for many with arthritis to get motivated to exercise because they hurt before they get started. Go ahead and give exercise a try and you may be surprised how much better you feel. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and they might suggest various low impact exercises like water exercise, biking, or using an elliptical. Even day-to-day activities like mowing, raking the lawn, or walking the dog can help some.

Keep moving now so your symptoms don’t worsen and you don’t become immobile. This can keep you moving later and help you maintain your independence.

Tyler Glidden is the wellness director for the McPherson Family YMCA. He has a bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and Wellness and a master’s degree in Exercise Science.