Getting appropriate amounts of exercise and developing a healthy lifestyle are necessary in the battle against arthritis. Most people that are at a risk for developing arthritis are obese or overweight, and some are merely unaware if exercising and placing stress on the joint would benefit their situation. You would think that increased movement would damage your already sore joints. So how would increasing use of the damaged joint help?

In addition to exercise, massage therapy can also help manage arthritis symptoms by relieving pain and stiffness, improving movement, and easing joint inflammation.


It’s the obvious answer, but exercise gets everything moving! Blood gets pumping even more throughout your body when you exercise, even in your swollen joints. The tissue then can get the nutrients and fresh oxygen it needs to promote healing and improved activity. Increased blood flow also helps reduce inflammation, which is a common issue for those with arthritis. By keeping the blood circulating, exercise helps to flush out inflammatory substances from the joints and surrounding tissues, reducing pain and stiffness over time, providing pain relief.


Physical activity triggers a biological process known as autophagy, which is your body identifying damaged cells as unnecessary. Once your body decides that these “floating” cells are garbage, it disposes of them through continual blood circulation. This process is crucial for maintaining healthy joint function and preventing further damage. Autophagy helps clear out the cellular debris that can accumulate in joints, reducing the risk of inflammation and joint pain. Regular exercise, therefore, not only helps in managing symptoms but also in maintaining the overall health of your joints.


Though the cause is unknown, observational research shows that even through degenerative joint disease, patients can see their cartilage walls be rebuilt when they exercise regularly. Cartilage is the hardest tissue surrounding the joint, and having a solid cartilage wall will enable you to exercise more and more frequently after a duration of time. Strengthening the cartilage can significantly improve joint function and reduce pain. Exercises that involve gentle, weight-bearing activities, such as walking or swimming, can stimulate the production of new cartilage cells, promoting joint health and flexibility. Additionally, deep tissue massage can help in rebuilding cartilage and improving joint function by addressing severe tension or pain in the muscles and connective tissues.


When the tissues and muscles surrounding the joint are strong, they protect and cushion the weak joints. Ligaments and tendons also build up strength and contribute to the healthy cocoon that surrounds the affected joint. Much like rebuilding the cartilage walls, muscle is another tissue that can securely protect your body when suffering from arthritis. Reducing muscle tension through massage can help in building joint muscle, as it improves circulation and flexibility. Strong muscles help absorb the shock and stress placed on joints during movement, reducing the risk of injury and pain. Incorporating strength training exercises into your routine can help build and maintain muscle mass, providing better support for your joints.


The synovial membrane surrounds all your joints, and it produces a smooth fluid that allows your bones to move around each other effortlessly. Usually, if you have a degenerative joint disease, this fluid lessens and can cause an arthritis flare-up. Physical activity promotes movement of the synovial fluid that lubricates your joints and results in less chronic pain for you. Regular movement helps keep this fluid circulating, ensuring that your joints remain well-lubricated and function smoothly. This lubrication reduces friction between the bones, minimizing pain and preventing further joint damage. Additionally, hot stone massage can help in promoting the movement of synovial fluid and reducing chronic pain.


Blood circulation is crucial to attaining the highest quality of lifestyle when diagnosed with a degenerative joint disease like arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis has been proven to block blood flow in body parts like arms, legs, and elbows. The reduced blood flow can lead to coronary artery disease, inflammation, and narrowed veins. These complications create heart conditions that are chronic, inflamed, and damaging to blood vessels. This puts arthritis patients at more of a risk for heart attack, stroke, heart disease, and even heart failure.

Regular exercise helps improve cardiovascular health by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation throughout the body. It helps keep the arteries flexible and clear of plaque, reducing the risk of heart-related complications. For arthritis patients, maintaining good cardiovascular health is essential to manage both joint and heart health effectively. Exercise can lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and enhance overall heart function, contributing to a healthier and more active lifestyle. Additionally, seeking help from a licensed massage therapist can provide comfort to aching muscles, reduce stress, and improve movement, which is beneficial for managing arthritis symptoms.


Low-impact exercises are particularly beneficial for individuals with arthritis. These exercises are gentle on the joints and help improve strength, flexibility, and overall fitness without causing further damage. Some recommended low-impact exercises include:

  • Swimming: Water supports your body, reducing stress on the joints while allowing you to move freely. Swimming and water aerobics can help improve cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and joint flexibility.

  • Walking: A simple and effective way to improve cardiovascular health and strengthen the muscles around your joints. Walking can be easily incorporated into your daily routine and adjusted to your fitness level.

  • Yoga: Focuses on gentle stretching and strengthening exercises that enhance flexibility, balance, and relaxation. Yoga can also help reduce stress and improve mental well-being.

  • Cycling: Provides a cardiovascular workout without putting too much stress on the joints. It helps strengthen the muscles in the legs and improve overall fitness.

  • Strength Training: Using resistance bands, light weights, or body-weight exercises can help build muscle strength, which supports and protects your joints.

Additionally, moderate pressure in massage therapy for arthritis is important as it stimulates pressure receptors under the skin, conveying signals to the brain that alleviate pain and release stress-reducing neurochemicals like serotonin.


  • Warm-Up and Cool Down: Always start with a gentle warm-up to prepare your joints and muscles for exercise. Finish with a cool-down period to gradually lower your heart rate and stretch your muscles.

  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body feels during and after exercise. If you experience increased pain or discomfort, adjust your routine or try a different activity.

  • Stay Consistent: Regular exercise is key to managing arthritis symptoms and improving joint health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days per week.

  • Modify Exercises: Adapt exercises to your comfort level and ability. Use support or assistive devices if needed, and avoid high-impact activities that could strain your joints.

  • Consult Professionals: Work with your doctor, physical therapist, or a certified fitness trainer to develop a safe and effective exercise plan tailored to your needs and abilities.

  • Massage for Arthritis: Consider incorporating different types of massage for arthritis, such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, or myofascial release. These techniques can improve circulation, relieve pain, and ease tension related to arthritis.

Exercise is a powerful tool in managing arthritis and improving joint health. By incorporating regular physical activity into your routine, you can increase blood flow, promote autophagy, rebuild cartilage, strengthen muscles, and enhance the production of synovial fluid. These benefits contribute to reduced pain, improved joint function, and better overall health. Remember to choose low-impact exercises, stay consistent, and seek professional guidance to maximize the benefits of your exercise routine. With the right approach, you can maintain a healthy, active lifestyle and manage your arthritis effectively.

Please consult your doctor or physical therapist when deciding what exercise plan would work best for you in your specific arthritis situation.


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