Exercise and physical activity are essential to our physical and mental health at every age and stage of life. And while many of us are experiencing a renewed interest in moving our bodies after staying home and social distancing, it’s doubly important if you have arthritis.
“When it hurts to move, it seems natural not to move. But the truth is that moderate exercise actually improves your joint function and flexibility, and this leads to less pain,” explains Trish Barbato, president and CEO of the Arthritis Society.
If regular fitness has fallen off your to-do list or you’re having a hard time starting, consider these low- to no-impact activities to get you moving again – whether you have arthritis or not.
Walking. Walking puts less strain on your joints and is much safer than running. It’s also inexpensive and easy to do anywhere. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes with flexible soles and adequate arch support.
Water exercise. Water activities are easy on muscles, joints and bones. Start an exercise routine by walking waist-deep in the pool, or by practicing floating on your back. Once you are comfortable in the water, try swimming laps. And when your community centre starts classes again, check for programs designed specifically for people with arthritis.
Yoga. Yoga typically combines physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation to strengthen your muscles, increase your flexibility and help you relax. Look for virtual classes designed for people with arthritis to ensure the exercise is not too strenuous for you.
Cycling. Cycling strengthens your muscles and gives your heart and lungs a good workout. Make sure you start slowly and use the least amount of resistance if you have knee problems.
Find more information at arthritis.ca.