The study purpose was to determine, among indigent arthritis patients, physical activity barriers, program preference frequencies and demographic associations. A structured interview of 223 indigent, internal medicine clinic patients with self-reported arthritis was administered in a cross-sectional study design. The two most frequently reported barriers included bad health (52%) and pain (51%). The majority preferred to exercise alone (54%), close to home (76%), and in the early morning/evening (83%). The preferred method of receiving exercise information was by video or audio tape. Frequency of reported barriers was significantly associated with age, ethnicity, and gender; specific program preferences were significantly associated with age and gender only. Exercise programs for indigent patients with arthritis should be home-based with flexible scheduling. Educational material should include both video and audio tape formats. Future interventions should consider barriers related to poor health and pain while remaining responsive to age, gender, and ethnic differences. Nurses can play a pivotal role in such interventions.