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The 5 Best Exercise Habits for Arthritis in Your 50s, Expert Reveals

If you have arthritis, start these helpful tricks today.

Arthritis is a condition that can be completely and utterly debilitating. According to Healthline, individuals can typically develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA) anywhere between 30 to 50 years of age, while osteoarthritis (OA) usually occurs after 50 or 60 years of age. Arthritis is not something you can always prevent, so it's essential to know every possible way to address the pain as effectively as possible. We're here to share some exercise habits for arthritis in your 50s that you should be aware of. Read further so you can start some helpful tricks today.


Kick things off easy, and slowly progress your training.

middle-aged woman with lightweight dumbbells demonstrating exercise habits for arthritis

We reached out to Dr. Mike Bohl, the Director of Medical Content & Education at Ro and a certified personal trainer. He informs us, "Exercising with arthritis is all about starting off easy and gradually progressing workouts to be longer and more difficult, as tolerated." For instance, some people may be limited to performing exercises in a five-minute session at first and can increase the length of their workout slowly over time. Others may feel more comfortable performing their routine in a seated position. This is a great start, as they can gradually work up to a standing position.

Related: Bad Fitness Habits That Are Rapidly Aging Your Body, Trainer Reveals


Low-to-moderate intensity is best for aerobic exercise, and working with low reps of low weight for resistance training is key.

mature woman walking trail outdoors

Dr. Bohl offers more suggestions you'll want to keep handy. "When it comes to aerobic exercise, low-to-moderate intensity is best," he shares, adding, "When it comes to resistance training, it's important to start with low repetitions of low weight." As you start to become more comfortable, you can step up the total reps. Note that it's always wise to stick with a lower weight. According to Dr. Bohl, your overall goal can be something like this: "Start with low repetition/low weight and progress to high repetition/low weight."

Related: The #1 Strength Workout To Regain Muscle Mass as You Age, Trainer Says


If you have balance issues, make stretching, core-strengthening movements, and balance exercises a priority.

middle-aged man stretching at beach, demonstrating exercise habits for arthritis

Individuals who suffer from arthritis may have balance issues or be a tad weaker. If that's the case, Dr. Bohl says balance exercises, stretching, and core-strengthening movements must be top priorities in your regular fitness regimen.


Circuit training can be incredibly effective.

middle-aged man performing wall sits

Another one of the best exercise habits for arthritis that Dr. Bohl shares is this. Circuit training can be quite beneficial for individuals dealing with arthritis. Circuit training is performing many various exercises back to back, rather than dedicating your entire workout time to simply one to two parts of your body or types of exercise.


Stay away from high-load or high-intensity exercises.

heavy weights at gym

Dr. Bohl does warn that individuals with arthritic conditions stay away from doing high-load or high-intensity exercises. This means no lifting heavy weights, steering clear of vigorous aerobic activities, and avoiding plyometrics.

Additionally, it's wise to avoid working out first thing in the morning, as this is the time when you likely endure a greater amount of stiffness and inability to move well. He tells us, "People with arthritis should use pain as a guide—don't do anything outside of a comfortable range of motion, and if they're experiencing an acute flare-up of arthritis symptoms, it may be best to avoid exercising altogether."

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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