5 Pilates Exercises That Osteoarthritis Patients Can Do With Ease

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition affecting joints. Try these Pilates exercises to strengthen the body without causing wear and tear.

Written by: Vesna Jacob Updated at: 2021-10-02 09:00

People with osteoarthritis experience swelling of the bones along with pain and discomfort. It becomes difficult for them to stay active and do exercises comfortably. While your physical movements are obstructed due to osteoarthritis, restricting activities would only worsen your condition and affects mobility in the near future. Thus, staying active is important to keep the body working fine. Pilates helps the body to get stronger and decrease the pain. It excellently helps the body to strengthen and condition muscles while we are not harming the body. Usually, what happens with people with osteoarthritis is that they are having lots of stiffness in joints and when they exercise, it just makes it worse.

Talking about pilates for osteoarthritis, the movements that we have selected are gentle and beneficial for them. The best is either to exercise directly on the mat or you can also use a small ball to support your head and back. Additionally, if someone wants to do a more challenging workout then they can use an elastic band for exercises or do it on the reformer.

Pilates for Osteoarthritis

Here are five pilates exercises that are apt for people with osteoarthritis.

1. Bridging

  • Place a mat and lie on it.
  • You start on the ground with arms up towards the ceiling
  • Inhale and as you exhale, push your arms down and lift the bottom off the ground.

This is great for helping strengthen the gluteal muscles, back muscles and also mobilises the shoulders. At the same time, the stomach should be pulled in and kept tight throughout the exercise.

2. Core Activation

  • Put your head on a cushion or under the pilates ball
  • Place the legs in the table proposition
  • Put your hands against the thighs and press into each other
  • Hold this position at the count of 5
  • Now, gently open the same arm and same leg away from each other
  • The other arm and other leg are pushing into each other
  • Keep changing the sides

This exercise activates the core, strengthens the abs and mobilises the shoulders.

Also Read: Pilates Exercises That You Can Do With Pilates Ball And Benefits Of Using It

3. The Core

  • Put a cushion or a ball behind the back
  • Bend your knees and arms should be reaching upwards
  • Inhale and as you exhale, reach up towards the ceiling
  • As you inhale, lower yourself down back into the cushion
  • The other variation of this is reaching towards your toes of the leg opposite to the same as if you are making a half-circle.

4. Cat and Dog Stretch

This pilates exercise is great for mobilising the back.

  • Get on your four with your legs, knees and hands on the ground.
  • Keep your spine parallel to the ground
  • Now turn your head up towards the ceiling
  • Inhale and lift your spine upwards while turning your head downwards.
Also Read:  5 Pilates Exercises To Aid Neck and Shoulder Pain

5. Spinal Stretches

  • Sit upright
  • Inhale and as you exhale, round the back for a nice stretch
  • Interlock your fingers and stretch forward

All these exercises are going to strengthen as well as open up the body. They are gentle enough and yet they strengthen the body in all the right places. Other than pilates, people with osteoarthritis can also do water-based exercises as they help in relieving symptoms. You must also watch your diet and control weight as additional weight can put additional pressure on your bones and joints.


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