Frequently Asked Questions

6. How can I reduce my chances of developing osteoarthritis?

Here are ways to decrease your chances of developing osteoarthritis.

Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, you should try to lose weight. Weight loss can reduce stress on weight-bearing joints, limit further injury, increase mobility, and reduce the risk of associated health problems. A dietitian can help you develop healthy eating habits. A healthy diet and regular exercise help reduce weight.

Avoid injury. Putting too much stress on a joint that has been repeatedly injured may lead to the development of osteoarthritis.

Get regular exercise. Daily physical exercise is one of the best treatments for osteoarthritis. It can improve mood and outlook, decrease pain, increase flexibility, and help you maintain a healthy weight.

The amount and form of exercise will depend on which joints are involved, how stable the joints are, whether or not the joint is swollen, and whether a joint replacement has already been done. Ask your doctor or physical therapist what exercises are best for you. Four types of exercise are recommended: strength training, aerobics, range-of-motion, and balance.

To see examples of exercises for older adults, go to Exercises to Try or visit Go4Life®, the National Institute on Aging’s exercise and physical activity program for older adults.