If you have arthritis in your knees or are experiencing knee pain, the first reaction is to rest your legs. However, when you're not staying active you could actually be doing more harm than good!

Many studies on the effects of exercise on knee joints (such as this March 2011 medical review by The American College of Sports Medicine), have found that people with arthritis and knee aches actually increase functionality and reduce pain through participating in exercise. Physical activity keeps your muscles strong and your joints flexible. It also helps you maintain a lower body weight which decreases strain on your knees.

Here are some exercises and activities you can do to reduce knee pain:

  • Swimming and Water Aerobics - if you're concerned about impact between your leg and the ground, then working out in the water may be right up your alley. Try to stick with movements that don't rotate your knees too much, as this can still aggravate your knee.
  • Stretching - Increasing the range of motion in stiff joints can help reduce pain. Classes in yoga or Pilates can help stretch out your joints. You can also ask your doctor or physical therapist for different stretches you can do at home.
  • Cycling - Riding a bike is a great option for exercising the knee without putting any weight on them. It's low-impact and you can do it from home or outdoors.
  • Walking - Take a stroll around your neighborhood in the evenings. Wearing high quality sneakers and knee braces may also help with shock absorption.
  • Weightlifting and Muscle Strengthening - Exercising your lower extremity can improve range of motion and strength in your knee joint. Consult your physician for some good strength-training exercises that you can do from home while watching TV.

In general people are too sedentary in their lives, but luckily we have many options to stay active. Begin incorporating exercise into your everyday routine and start experiencing less knee pain.