Winter brings cold weather and cold weather brings stiffness in the joints. “Cold weather causes more muscular spasms and increasing joint pain and stiffness. People often work out less in the winter, making joint discomfort from lack of activity more likely,” says Rishi Gogineni, M.D. Physical activity can ease joint pain and keep joints flexible. It’s a little more difficult to get moving in the winter but it’s important to stay active, even when it’s cold outside!

Warm Up

Warm up exercises are important before participating in exercise or a sport. They help relieve tension, make you feel relaxed, and get you prepared for your workout. Some great ways to warm up include simple exercises such as toe touches, shoulder shrugs, overhead stretches, and shoulder shrugs. There are many low impact stretches you can do to warm up! Low impact exercises tend to be much easier on your joints.

Yoga and Pilates

Yoga and Pilates have similar characteristics that make them perfect for someone with joint pain, since both involve a lot of low-impact exercises that are easy on the joints. Yoga and Pilates are a great way to build strength, mobility, and flexibility. These exercises reduce pain and improve joint function. Plus, they’re done indoors! Look into finding some classes near you during the colder months and year-round.


Walking is a much better option than running for people with joint pain. A mall or a large store is a great place to walk when the weather is too cold. You can also walk on a treadmill or an elliptical if you have access to one. Walking is considered one of the most important exercises you can do if you have arthritis. You can walk for just 30 minutes a day, strengthening your core and legs and maintaining a healthy weight, putting less stress on your joints.

Indoor Swimming

Water reduces the effects of gravity, making swimming a great low-impact exercise for people with joint pain. Moving through water is a great way to tone your muscles, get your heart rate up, and strengthen your joints. Swimming encourages a full range of motion, allowing you to work out those stiff joints that you can’t usually get to. Indoor pools allow comfortable swimming year-round.


Biking is a great exercise for people with arthritis. When the weather isn’t nice enough for biking outside, you can always hop on a stationary bike! The smooth continuous motion it takes to cycle is great for your joints. Biking is a low impact exercise and strengthens your heart and lungs. Think about adding this exercise to your everyday workout routine.

Working out with joint pain when it’s cold outside is a little more difficult but not impossible! Make sure you are staying warm and staying hydrated while getting active.