Being inside during the winter does not have to mean being less active. Staying active is crucial for your health, improving strength, independence, energy levels, sleep, mood and reducing stress.

Here are four types of low-impact and joint-friendly exercises you can try this winter to stay active:

Endurance exercises
These are also referred to as aerobic or cardiovascular exercises. They work to increase your breathing and heart rate, resulting in improved heart and lung health, lowered blood pressure and improved overall fitness. Examples include brisk walking, stationary biking or swimming.

Strength exercises
Also known as resistance training, these movements improve muscular strength. There are many body weight strengthening exercises you can do indoors, like Pilates, yoga and tai chi. If you struggle with mobility, keeping your muscles strong can help you stay independent and make daily activities like getting in and out of bed, getting on and off the toilet, climbing stairs and grocery shopping easier.

Balance exercises
These help to prevent falls by improving stability and may involve activities that contract with how you normally walk, such as heel-to-toe walking, side stepping and single-legged standing. Balance exercises can also include exercises that focus on lower extremity strengthening such as sit-to-stand exercises. Tai chi is a gentle yet effective exercise that helps people with arthritis improve balance.

Flexibility exercises
Also known as stretching, these exercises improve joint flexibility, allowing for a wider range of motion. This can make it easier to do daily activities like reaching down to tie your shoelaces or turning your head to check the blind spot when driving.

Joints stiffen up during the night when they’re not being used. Start with gentle stretches while still lying on your back in bed (such as drawing one knee towards your chest and holding for a few seconds, then try drawing both knees towards your chest and holding for an additional few seconds) and then continue stretching while sitting on your bed (such as performing clockwise and counter-clockwise circles with your ankles and wrists) before you take your first step out of bed every morning.

With winter upon us, it’s more challenging to stay active. Using indoor spaces, such as gyms, indoor swimming pools or even your living room, will help you stay active and boost your overall health and wellness.

Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. If you have arthritis or any other health concerns, consult a healthcare professional to find an exercise routine that works for you.

Looking for more information on how to begin an exercise plan and to keep going? Find Arthritis Society Canada’s accessible exercise and yoga videos at