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Aging: 7 Ways to Stay Active with Arthritis

If you have arthritis, there may be days where you don’t feel like being active. But this just might make your arthritis pain feel worst and add to the pain problem. It is important to stay active with arthritis. Here are a few fun things we found on WebMD that you can do even with your arthritis:

  1. Start walking: walking keeps your joints flexible and your muscles strong. This low-impact, weight-bearing exercise is a good choice for people with arthritis.
  2. Carry your groceries: Make the most of your supermarket trip by carrying your groceries in the store and to your car. The weight adds intensity to walking and helps strengthen your upper body. Carry your bags across your arms to protect your hands. For an extra challenge, carry your bags up steps. Research suggests people who can carry groceries and climb stairs are less likely to have a stroke than those who can’t.
  3. Find fitness friends: Instead of planning lunch dates, suggest meeting friends for a brisk walk through the mall or a park. While you may be tempted to shrug off a solo workout, you will be less likely to stand up a friend.
  4. Volunteer: Help yourself and other people by taking on volunteer projects that benefit both mind and body. Consider walking dogs at the local animal shelter, planting trees, coaching a youth sports team, or building houses. Studies show that older adults who volunteer regularly have a greater sense of well-being than those who don’t.
  5. Play video games: If the weather is cruddy outside, stay indoors.  Grab a gaming system but get off the couch. Research suggests some sports video games may burn as many calories as a brisk walk. In a study funded by Nintendo, the Wii Sports tennis, baseball, and boxing games all qualified as moderate-intense exercise. For joint flexibility and to improve your range of motion with arthritis, try your hand at balance games and yoga exercises.
  6. Clean your house. Don’t dread housework; it’s a way to avoid the gym. Cleaning the floor counts as moderate exercise because it raises your heart rate and makes you breathe faster. Other good exercise: washing windows, hanging laundry, and cleaning the bathroom. To protect your joints, alternate motions and the hands you use. Don’t overextend your reach, and bend with your knees to save your back. Consider knee pads for kneeling.
  7. Take a class: Like working out in a social setting? Sign up for a class. You’ll have a regular exercise time and place, plus a group of people who expect to see you. Remember, a fitness class doesn’t have to mean aerobics. Always wanted to learn karate or salsa dancing? Look for a class that will keep you coming back. Or join a walking group or masters swim team. Both walking and swimming are especially easy on the joints.

There are many things you can do to stay active with arthritis. What do you do? Which exercise helps your arthritis – bicycling, swimming, walking, yoga…or what? Share your exercise in our comments.


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