The answer is low impact exercise. In 2012, a study done in China divided 100 patients with knee osteoarthritis into two groups. One group receiving an anti-inflammatory medication and the other group received the same medication and also exercise. After 4 weeks, the exercise group had lower levels of inflammation than the medication only group.
Another study done in 2006 at Purdue University, found that patients with osteoarthritis that completed a strengthening program vs a stretching program had less loss of joint space by 37%. Less joint space is a sign of loss of cartilage and worsening of osteoarthritis.
So if you are beginning to have some aches in your joints do not stop exercising. Strengthen the muscles around the joints. If you are unsure how to do do this safely, get a prescription from your doctor for a physical therapist. Motion is lotion!
Information for this article, taken from Arthritis Today, March/April 2013 article titled, Putting a Stop to OA by Dorothy Foltz-Gray