Jun 5, 2019

Eight Arthritis-Friendly Outdoor Hobbies

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If you have arthritis, you have gotten used to the painful, swollen, and stiff joints. You are well aware that you can become easily fatigued. You know this disease will force you to slow down or stop completely. All of these well-known symptoms can get in the way of doing the things you love, but you don’t have to let them! While you may have to become a little more creative you can still find ways to enjoy your favorite hobbies or explore new ones. Here are eight fun outdoor activities with tips to make them more arthritis-friendly.

Yoga.

While yoga can be inside, the outdoor sessions are where you will feel one with nature. Many studios offer yoga on the beach, yoga in the woods, yoga in the park, or even yoga on the farm. It is important to stay physically active with arthritis so if you are having trouble running or walking, give outdoor yoga a shot. Yoga is a great activity for people with arthritis because in addition to helping with flexibility and balance it also has a mindfulness component that can help with anxiety and stress.

Gardening.

Lots of people enjoy gardening, but having arthritis can make the frequent bending and digging difficult. Gardening can be extremely tough on your hands, back, and neck so while you don’t have to stop, you will need to approach it differently. Research vertical gardens, raised beds, container gardening, and ergonomic tools. Contact your local garden shop to get advice on which plants don’t require as much maintenance so you can avoid too much bending and crouching.

Birdwatching.

Birdwatching can be a fun and healthy activity for people with arthritis because it involves walking and analyzing. It gets people outdoors and breathing fresh air, which can be peaceful and relaxing. The birdwatching aspect makes it a challenging stress reliever. Reach out to your local activity center to see if they offer any programs.

Fishing.

Fishing with arthritis is definitely not easy and most rods contribute to arthritis pain. However, if you love it it’s important to not give it up, but find a ways around the struggles. There are new ergonomic rods on the market made to make fishing easier and more comfortable for arthritis sufferers.

Cycling.

Cycling is a fantastic low-impact cardiovascular exercise. The knee movements involved help to flush fluid through joints, which can lubricate and relieve stiffness and pain. It also helps strengthens leg muscles, which can improve balance and coordination. However, cycling with arthritis will require some adjustments. Plan your route before you leave, be careful of rough terrain, and ensure any recent bad weather hasn’t affected your path. Be sure to have the bike professionally fitted. A badly fitted bike can cause more damage than good, so have a professional properly inspect your bike.

Golf.

Golf can keep your joints flexible and strong, but arthritis can get in the way of playing your best game. Achy hands and stiff joints can be a major complication. Fortunately, you don’t have to leave the green just yet; there are ways to make your golf game more manageable. Be sure to warm up, because warming up protects your joints, helps you to retain range of motion, and lowers the chance of injury. Research adaptive equipment and over-sized club grip to compensate for weaker hands. A low compression golf ball may also help, as they’re made for people with slower swing speeds and are designed to travel further.

Swimming.

Swimming is a fantastic sport which strengthens your entire body with absolutely zero impact on your joints. This means reduced symptoms and less joint degeneration. All these qualities make swimming one of the best sports for people with arthritis to try. Just be sure you are using the best stroke for your body and symptoms.

Beach it.

For those who suffer from arthritis, a day at the beach isn’t that easy. Fatigue, joint pain, stiffness, and depression make it difficult for arthritis sufferers to simply venture outside and take on the outside world. However, for many the beach is a reprieve from this disease and a day of fun, sun, and surf can be just what the doctor ordered. Searching for sea shells, soaking in the water and walking along the shore can be healthy if done correctly. It is important to be prepared, hydrate, and bring along a quality chair and a friend.

While these hobbies are great for arthritis sufferers, the most crucial tip is listening to your body. Know your limits, get plenty of rest and don’t forget to the have fun! Make small modifications to make your favorite outdoor hobbies easier and safer. If you have any questions before taking on new or old outdoor hobbies, contact Carolina Arthritis and we will help get you prepared to coast through an outdoor activity.