When your joints hurt, you’re probably not eager to exercise – even though you’ve heard time and time again that you should. Not only does exercise keep joints strong and flexible, it also promises pain relief for a host of conditions, including osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia. It also keeps pain from starting, helps you shed pounds and reduces stress.

Here are some low-impact, joint-friendly and, fun ways to work out with arthritis.

  • Water Walking – Walking in waist-deep water lessens weight on joints by 50 percent compared with walking on land, explains physical therapist Davis Reyes, assistant manager of the Joint Mobility Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
  • Water Aerobics – Water aerobics, which involves your upper and lower body and mid-section, is usually done in chest-deep water, lessening impact on your joints by 75 percent compared with traditional aerobics, Reyes says.
  • Do It Safely: Warm up for five to 10 minutes with easy walking and arm movements – basically mimicking what you’ll be doing – to loosen joints and relax muscles.
  • Swimming –  Swimming works all of your muscle groups and builds cardiovascular endurance.
  • Golf – It works your upper back, legs, shoulders, wrists and hands. Additionally, if you don’t rely on a motorized cart, you’ll do lots of joint and heart healthy walking.