Exercise and osteoarthritis:

Many health care professionals now believe that a regular, sensible exercise program can in fact alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis. A balanced plan should include all aspects of fitness -- stretching, strength conditioning, and aerobic exercise - should be embarked on gradually.

Slow, gentle stretches performed daily will maintain or improve range of motion in affected joints. Improved flexibility has been shown to reduce arthritis pain. Strengthening the muscles surrounding arthritic joints through resistance exercises or weight lifting relieves stress on the joints. Aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, and bicycling benefits the lungs, heart, and strengthens major muscle groups. Any exercise plan should be approved by a health care professional.