When you're living with arthritis, physical activity isn't optional-it's essential. Exercises help to relieve pain and stiffness, help you avoid joint injury, and stay active for longer. But, maybe you're finding it hard to squeeze in 30-minute sessions every day. No problem. There are easier ways to work exercises into your day.

First, you don't have to do 30 minutes of activity all at once, or you can do sets (for instance 10 or 15 repetitions of each exercise) at different times of the day. Sneak in exercises when you awake in the morning, while watching TV, waiting for the kettle to boil, on a break at your workplace, or while waiting in line anywhere.

No matter what type of arthritis you have (wrist or knee, for example), you'll find this head-to-toe workout guide offers exercises that are easy to incorporate into your day. For each of these exercises, make sure to:

A. Follow the proper technique.

B.  Do at least three sets of 10 repetitions each day. Rest after each set.

C. If you feel pain, stop the exercise and try it again at another time.


1. Sitting or standing, slowly lower your head forward then slowly raise it back to an erect position. Slowly lower your head backwards and then slowly return it to an erect position.

2. Slowly lower your head to your right shoulder, and then slowly return it to an erect position. Repeat to your left side.


1. Raise your arms out to the side. Bend them until your fingertips are on your shoulder.

2. Slowly lower your arms down to your side, then rotate them forward (your elbows are facing forward), then up (your elbows are pointing upwards), so you're doing a circular motion. Return your arms to the starting position (elbows are pointing outwards). Rest.

3. Placing your fingertips back on your shoulder, slowly raise your arms up then rotate them forward and slowly lower them. Raise them back to the starting position.


1. Raise your right arm above your head and keep your left arm down by your side. Bend your right elbow and lower your right hand behind your shoulder.

2. Reach up behind your back with your left arm and try to grab your right hand with your left hand. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.

3. Switch arm positions.


1. Stretch your arms out in front of you with your palms facing down.

2. Slowly raise your hands up, and then lower them.


1. With your right arm down by your side, bend your elbow so your palm is facing forward.

2. Spread your fingers apart, and then slowly make a fist.

3. Repeat with your left hand.


1. Lie on your back with your legs outstretched and your arms by your side.

2. Bend your knees and pull them into your chest. Use your arms to pull your thighs closer to your chest. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Stretch your legs back out.

Note: You can also do this exercise sitting in a chair.


1. Stand beside a chair and hold the back with your right hand.

2. Slowly move your left leg forward, pointing your toes. Return your leg to a standing position. Repeat 10 times.

3. Slowly move your left leg backwards as far as it's comfortable. Return to a standing position. Repeat 10 times.

4. Slowly move your left leg out to the side, trying not to place too much pressure on your right hip. Return to a standing position. Repeat 10 times.

5. Repeat exercises with your right leg.


1. Sit on a chair with your knees bent at right angles. Slowly lift your right leg out in front of you without raising your thigh off the chair. Don't lock your knee.

2. Lower your right leg back to the ground. Do 10 repetitions.

3. Repeat exercises with your left leg.

4. Stand with the chair in front of you for support. Bend your right knee and lift your lower leg so it's about parallel to the floor. Lower your leg back to the floor.

5. Repeat with your left leg.


1. Sit on a chair. Keep your left knee bent at a right angle. Stretch your right leg out in front of you, keeping your heel on the floor.

2. Try to rotate your right ankle clockwise 10 times. Then repeat counterclockwise 10 times. The rotations should be small and controlled. Return your foot to a neutral position. Repeat with your left ankle.

3. Place your right foot on the ground, keep your heel on the ground, and lift your toes upwards. Lower your foot. Repeat.

4. Repeat exercises with your left foot.