There is a large amount of evidence that proves losing weight decreases knee pain in those suffering from osteoarthritis.
- Avoid any exercise that increases your pain. We want to increase overall activity. If you have a major flare-up and don't walk for 2 days you will do less not more. You will not be able to 'push through' the pain. It doesn't work that way.
- Start gently. Measure how much you walk each day over a few days (a pedometer is great for this) then gradually increase. You don't have to start off with any specific knee exercises. Just try and walk more.
- Don't be rigid in your activity. You want the average activity to go up each week. If you are having a bad day with strong pain, take it easy and make it up when things are better. Forcing yourself to walk a mile on a bad day causes flare-ups and usually results in you quitting the exercise program.
- Consider water. Exercise in water reduces stress on weight bearing joints. This means you can do more work without increasing pain. Even if you can't swim, waist deep water has some benefit, chest high water more.
- Work the arms. Although increasing thigh muscle strength is of benefit to knees also, for the purpose of losing weight, your body doesn't care where the work is done. Burn off more energy than you put in and your pounds disappear.
- Use whatever helps. If your pain is less in the middle of the day do your exercise then. If painkillers are effective for you, do your exercise an hour after taking your pills. If you are stiff and in pain first thing in the morning avoid exercise at this time and ease yourself into the day. Consider a knee brace or support if it helps you do more.