Knee pain: Can a healthy lifestyle and losing weight help?


The answer to the question is YES.

Scientific research has shown that even small reductions in body weight can significantly reduce the symptoms of joint pain.

Research has shown us that a 5% to 10% reduction of body weight can dramatically reduce joint pain and improve your ability to exercise.

If you are overweight try to look at this as a positive, you can help yourself.

No one is suggesting that losing weight is easy. Weight loss is difficult when you have bad joints; however, there are ways to exercise that do not place too much stress on the joints of your body.

Diet is also important and getting support from your family doctor, dietician or nutritionist can help.

These positive lifestyle choices will have additional health benefits too.

Exercise for Joint Pain:

Exercise is important for people with arthritis here are some examples you may wish to consider:


Pilates is a great way to strengthen the important muscles in the body (the core) in a low-impact, safe manner. Pilates has become a popular tool for injury treatment and prevention even with professional athletes. Pilates is safe for the joints.

Aqua Aerobic:

Working out in the water is  a way to perform normal activities with less impact compared to working out on land. Water workouts can involve aerobics, walking, jogging or just about anything else.


Swimming is great exercise full stop! With swimming, your joints are supported by the water, which can ease arthritis pain.


Cycling is a low-impact exercise, but the motion of cycling is stimulating for the cartilage within a joint. Cycling gives a good muscular and cardiovascular workout and loosens up stiff joints common in people with arthritis.

Weight Machines:

Training with weights can help strengthen muscles and is also an excellent way to stimulate bone health.


May not be the best workout for those with arthritis but walking for exercise is certainly better than no exercise at all. The WHO recommend 10,000 steps a day! Try Nordic walking to work the arms and give some support to the knees

Get Out and Exercise

Exercise has been shown to be useful for patients with arthritis both before and after major surgery.

Seek advice from your family doctor, local gym or physiotherapist on starting an exercise programme to help manage your knee pain.

References: Rooks DS, et al. “Effect of preoperative exercise on measures of functional status in men and women undergoing total hip and knee arthroplasty.” Arthritis Rheum. 2006 Oct 15;55(5):700-8.

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