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What types of exercise should I avoid to prevent osteoarthritis?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Before we answer the question, let’s make one thing clear: We’re talking about types of exercise that should be avoided to reduce your risk of osteoarthritis or its progression, not all exercise. When we say 10,000 steps a day, no excuses, we mean it. So that being said, high-impact sports like soccer, running, tennis, football, or skiing put a lot of stress on your joints. And any exercise involving movement of a joint that is not in alignment with the bones surrounding that joint increases osteoarthritis. Over time, all that pounding, stress, and over use can lead to osteoarthritis. So instead, try low-impact activities like walking, yoga, or swimming, and resistance exercise. Don’t worry, 100 minutes of swimming is totally a fair trade for 10,000 steps in one day or even three days a week.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

If you want to avoid osteoarthritis (OA) from exercise, follow these tips:

  • Avoid being a weekend warrior. Overdoing it makes it easy to injure a joint that might later become arthritic.
  • Choose exercises that don’t stress your joints, such as swimming, biking, walking and yoga.
  • If you want to run, wear shoes that fit well and limit your daily mileage.
  • Avoid strenuous aerobic workouts that put a lot of stress on the joints.
  • Wear the right protective gear for your exercise or sport of choice.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.