Gliding Discs for Exercise with Arthritis, by Lisa Snow


Many people with arthritis gradually slip into the habit of moving less and less.  However, once you are diagnosed with arthritis, frequent exercise is more important than ever.  Only doing cardio workouts like walking or cycling isn’t enough; older adults also need strength training to maintain bone density and reduce fall risk.  As long as it’s low-impact, strength training may even help you cope with the symptoms of arthritis.  Some gyms offer Arthritis Foundation classes, and some pools offer workout classes geared toward people with arthritis.  If you live in an area where these types of poor or gym classes are readily available, go for it!  But what if you can’t find local arthritis classes, or want to workout at home on the days between classes?

Gliding Discs are a great option for older adults with arthritis looking for a low-impact workout to do at home.  They are inexpensive (about $15), last a long time, and are readily available for purchase online .  However, many seniors are uncomfortable placing orders and using credit cards on the internet.  Luckily, companies like Perform Better will ship Gliding Discs and other small pieces of equipment right to your home, and you can order by phone from their paper catalog.  You can request a catalog by calling them at 888-556-7464, or by visiting their website,

Try the exercises below both with and without your Gliding Discs and compare how they feel.  Most people think these moves feel smoother and more graceful with the Gliding Discs, even though the discs actually make the exercises more challenging.

Gliding Discs allow you to use your own body weight as resistance, allowing you to do strength training even if you don’t own weights!  Of course, if you do have dumbbells at home, you can gradually progress to incorporating weights into your Gliding Disc workout.

Back_Lunge_Back Lunge

Place just one Gliding Disc under your right foot.  (The left foot can be on the ground with no disc, or you can have the ball of the left foot on the disc, but the heel on the ground, to hold the disc still.)  Bend both knees as you slide the right foot behind you and descend into a lunge.  Slide back to the start.  Repeat for 15 reps.





Side LungeSide Lunge

Place one Gliding Disc under your right foot.  (The left foot should be on the floor, with no disc under it.)  Slide your right foot out to the side, and bend your right knee as you descend into the lunge.  Slide the right foot back to the starting position, so you are standing up tall.  Repeat for 15 reps.


Modified_PlankModified Plank

Place both Gliding Discs under your hands, and get into a modified plank position.  (It looks like you’re about to do a knee-pushup, but there are no pushups in this exercise.  You just hold still in that top position.)  Gradually work your way up to a 30 second hold.  Once 30 seconds gets easy, you can make this more challenging by moving the right hand forward, then back into place.  Then try moving the right hand out to the side, then back into place.  Repeat with the left hand.  Keep switching hands until you complete 30 seconds.  Be sure to stay in a neutral spine posture throughout the exercise (a fairly straight back, but maintaining the natural arch in your low back that you normally have when standing).

For more ideas on how to use this fun piece of workout equipment, try the Gliding for the Active Older Adult DVD, which is available on Amazon.

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