For some reason I was hunting around the web the other day and I came upon the Arthritis Research Campaign, a nonprofit organization based in the UK. There is a section on arthritis of the knee that includes these recommended exercises:
Quadriceps (thigh muscle) exercises
The most important thing is to choose exercises which you can do regularly. The easiest one to do is when sitting down in a chair.
1. Straight-leg raise: sitting Get into the habit of doing this every time you sit down. Sit well back in the chair with a good posture. Straighten and raise the leg, hold it for a slow count to 10, then slowly lower it.
Repeat this several times with each leg – at least 10 times with each. If this can be done easily, repeat the exercises with a weight on the ankle (buy ankle weights from a sports shop or improvise, for example with a tin of peas in a carrier bag wrapped around the ankle).
2. Straight-leg raise: lying Get into the habit of doing straight-leg exercises in the morning and at night while lying in bed. With one leg bent at the knee, hold the other leg straight and lift the foot just off the bed. Hold for a slow count of 5 then lower. Repeat with each leg 5 times every morning and evening.
3. Muscle stretch At least once a day when lying down do the following exercise. First, place a rolled-up towel under the ankle of the leg to be exercised. Then bend the other leg at the knee. With the straight leg, use your leg muscles to push the back of the knee firmly towards the bed or the floor. Hold for a slow count of 5. Repeat with each leg 5 times. Not only does this exercise help to strengthen the quadriceps muscles, but also it prevents the knee from becoming permanently bent.
4. Clenching exercises During the day, whether standing or sitting, get into the habit of clenching and releasing the quadriceps muscles. By constantly stimulating the muscles, they become stronger.
Go to http://www.arc.org.uk/arthinfo/patpubs/6027/6027.asp to see the original page.
I also appreciated this bit of advice:
For most people with osteoarthritis the best advice is 'little and often': a little rest, followed by a little exercise.
My wii workouts fall generally into this category - 15-minute workouts. Sometimes I do longer workouts, using exercise DVDs, or I take a walk if I feel good. I can usually do a little of something if I can rest.
I will report more specifically on the exercise DVDs I like using in a later post.