How does a person with arthritis start an exercise program?

People with arthritis should discuss exercise options with their doctors or health care providers. Whatever the doctor recommends should be commenced with easy to achieve goals. Start with easy range-of-motion exercises and low-impact exercises. The doctor will know which, if any, sports are not suitable.


The doctor may refer the patient to a physiotherapist of a chi kung teacher. It is best to find an exercise therapist who has the following attributes:-

        experience working with people who have arthritis

        demonstrates good practical and extensive knowledge of arthritis.

        includes all the 6 types of exercises that are most suitable for arthritic patients

        each of the 6 types of exercises are sufficiently stressed


Note:-  It has sadly come to my attention that certain big medical organisations have made strong recommendations to use certain brands of exercises that do not have a comprehensive set of 6 types of exercises (refer above) (eg., not sufficiently stress joint rotation or stretching exercises) that help resolve arthritis, and thus, medically and technically, do not have the full benefits they claim to have.


Arthritic patients who are serious about getting well may not only enrol in a regular exercise class, but also engage a person tutor who may design an appropriate home exercise program.


Note:- Determine how much the physical therapist knows about arthritis by asking what he/she knows about arthritis, what is arthritis, what types of arthritis there are, what is the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, what causes the pain, what causes the inflammation, what causes the deformities, what parts of the body arthritis affects, what causes arthritis, what can help, what is a suitable treatment plan, etc etc (read up on the subject matter first! For a short cut, read articles on arthritis from my website, as well as Tai Chi and Chi Kung articles on my websites).


Do not use an ignorant or incompetent physical therapist, no matter how highly recommended he/she is. In my 29 years of teaching Tai Chi Chuan, I observed that ACTUAL facts seldom match academic recommendations or reputations. The forces of marketing and promotion seem to be more actual than real skill and knowledge. Just because a product is immensely popular does not mean it is the best it seldom ever is!




Written by John Chow,  a practitioner of Chinese medicine, acupuncturist, masseur, healer and teacher of Tai Chi, Chi Kung, martial arts and spiritual paths in Melbourne, Australia.

Copyright:-  No part of this article can be used, quoted, copied in any form without the permission from the author.  For further information on this article, please contact John Chow  at


Legal caveat:-

The information provided above is for general reference only. Although the author(s) has attempted to be as thorough as possible in compiling the information in this article(s), no legal responsibility nor liability is accepted for any errors or omissions. The information is presented for educational purposes only. Please refer any medical matter to your doctor before acting on any health-related information.