PEAK Program: 3 Barriers to Exercise for Knee Osteoarthritis

Date Posted : October 17, 2022

If you have struggled with knee osteoarthritis for much of your life, or are even just newly diagnosed with the condition, you may be under the misconception that exercise may make your symptoms worse.

To avoid the misconceived increase in pain, people with knee OA opt to change the way they would normally do things such as avoiding new physical activities, taking the elevator instead of the stairs, or even reducing their work hours. Not only does this affect your physical health long term, but also allow you to give into more barriers that can occur. 

Here are 3 barriers you may come across when it comes to exercising your knee osteoarthritis


With holidays coming up, it tends to disrupt a lot of schedules and routines set in place. Whether you have family coming over or are out of town, many people tend to think of exercise as an afterthought. To avoid falling off your regular exercise for your knee osteoarthritis, try to plan activities you can participate in with your family so you can all do it together. If you are not home and are on vacation, try to plan an activity you can do in a new city or even in your hotel/resort. 

Feeling unmotivated

When it comes to actually finding the energy to exercise, many people who are feeling unmotivated tend to cancel their scheduled exercise sessions. Sometimes if the form of exercise or physical activity is not something they enjoy, they will try and avoid that even more which will lead to a negative cycle of doing less activity and in turn, feeling more tired and lethargic. A great way to combat this is to find activities you genuinely enjoy so you feel excited,  and try sticking to a designated time allotted everyday for active movement. 

Pain levels

It is common for people to feel pain in their knee joints or in their muscles, during exercise or for a short period of time following exercise. It’s important to note that this is normal and does not indicate that your knee osteoarthritis is getting worse. If the pain you feel is stronger than a 6 out of 10 or lasts longer than a day, you should consider easing off and discussing it with your physiotherapist during your next appointment. Consulting with your physiotherapist when trying new exercises or using new equipment is always recommended as they can assess if you are ready for it, and also provide you with tips that will not trigger your knee osteoarthritis symptoms. 

Looking for more information on how to stay active and manage your Osteoarthritis symptoms? Helping my Arthritis offers current education and treatment options around first and second-line physiotherapy for hip and knee osteoarthritis patients around Surrey, Delta, and Vancouver BC. With the recent growth in telehealth options, we are able to now offer osteoarthritis management programs to patients living anywhere in BC! Reach out today to learn more about how to help your arthritis, call 604-306-0127 or email to consult with Nadine Plotnikoff, the physiotherapist behind Helping My Arthritis.