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30 Ways to Be Active with Arthritis

Everyday Activities

Getting out and moving by doing normal, everyday activities is one of the best ways to knock the rust off your joints and keep them functioning how they're supposed to. Mow the lawn, rake some leaves, or walk the dog. And if you don’t have a dog, this is a great excuse to get one!

Range-of-Motion Exercise

These exercises are designed to make sure you your joints stay strong and functional. For example, raising your arm all the way up or straightening your fingers will exaggerate your daily movements, thereby making everyday life easier. Often, your healthcare provider will show you the exact exercises you need to do.

Resistance Bands

Resistance band workouts are great once you feel like achieving a full range of motion is no longer difficult. With resistance band training, you’re essentially using large rubber bands to workout. These bands can come in varying levels of resistance, allowing the workout to get harder as you get stronger. They’re a great way to strengthen all the muscles in your joints without any harmful jolts.

Weight Training

Weight training is just the normal, weighted exercises you think of when you think of the gym. They’re one of the best ways to get stronger and improve your joint health!

Walking

There are so many benefits to walking, not just for people with arthritis! It improves your circulation, strengthens your bones and your lungs, and is the best way to lose weight! On top of all of that, it is a great way to strengthen those little muscles that surround your joints, perfect for anyone with joint problems.

Core Strengthening

Strengthening your core is one of the best things that anybody can do, but it is especially important for people with arthritis. Strengthening your core will help prevent you from having to put too much unnecessary pressure on your joints when you’re doing everyday things like picking something up from the ground or getting into your car.

Cycling

Cycling is a great impact-free exercise for anybody. It works all your lower body muscles without putting unnecessary stress on your joints. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a great way to get out and see the world!

Stretching

When you have arthritis, everyday movements become more difficult thanks to your joints. Strengthening the muscles around those aching joints is important, but if your muscles get so tight or sore that you can’t use them, you’re in trouble. That’s why it’s important to stretch and stay loose, so you can keep functioning to the best of your ability! 

Gardening

Not only does gardening put a bunch of delicious foods on the table, it is also a great way to stay limber and use muscles you wouldn’t normally use. It’s a great way to keep moving because you have set goals. It’s hard to skip a day when you know your garden will be hurt because of it!

Swimming

Swimming is a very fun way to get in shape while removing some of the stress from your joints. It works your whole body by building muscle, movement, and aerobic strength all while having a great time!

Elliptical Machine

If you like the idea of being able to run but can’t because of the pain it brings, elliptical machines are a good, no-impact choice. They’re a common machine found in most gyms. They’re loved because of how they work out the whole body without the painful repetition of going on a run. What’s not to lose?

Rowing

Rowing is another great full-body workout that provides no impact on your joints. There’s a machine that simulates rowing at the gym, or you can rent a kayak and get out on the lake yourself!

Croquet

If you’ve never played croquet, you’re seriously missing out on one of the best games of all time. It’s a competitive backyard game that has little impact on your joints played similar to golf, but the movements are less of the exaggerated.

Stationary Bikes

Stationary bikes are great because you can use them at any time, regardless of the time of day or the weather! You can adjust the settings to fit the effort and intensity you want and can even watch a movie while you spin. If it gets boring doing this at home, most gyms offer group spin classes you can sign up for!

Chair Stands

If everyday movements are difficult for you, then it helps to practice them. One of the more difficult daily tasks you do is simply sitting down and getting up, so practice! Standing by your chair, sit down in a slow, controlled way. Try to keep things symmetrical, not putting any more stress on any one side of your body.

Use Your Stairs

If you need to get moving, use your stairs. This will force you to use muscles you wouldn't use while walking around normally. Try using that upstairs bathroom instead of the master bath or keeping your TV up in the spare bedroom. You’ll have to go out of your way, strengthening your legs as you go!

Yoga

Yoga is a great way for anybody to get healthy. It’ll strengthen your muscles, increase your flexibility, and improve your stability. It’s a perfect combination for anybody struggling with joint pain!

Exercise Ball Workouts

Exercise balls are a great way to build all the muscles in your core, a key group of muscles for providing stability in most movements. While this isn’t specifically targeting your joints, it will help to take some of the pressure off them.

Cross-country Skiing

If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere in the far north and your arthritis isn’t too bad, buy some skis and go explore the great white outdoors! It’s a great way to take advantage of the weather while strengthening the muscles all over your body!

Water Workouts

Pools are a great place to take the pressure off your joints while getting in a great workout. If swimming isn’t your thing, don’t worry. There’s plenty of different water aerobics classes that would be great for you. Check out your local gym to see what they offer!

Bocce Ball

Bocce Ball is a great park game. It’s played by tossing balls at other balls lying on the ground. There’s not too much effort, just an underhand tossing of the ball. It’s a fun, relaxing game meant to be played with friends and family.

Suspension Training

If you’re not strong enough for weighted exercises but range-of-motion exercises are too easy, you should look into suspension training. Suspension training allows you to increase the effort required for your workouts as you get stronger. 

Tai Chi

If you have arthritis, fast-paced workouts are probably not on your to-do list. Tai Chi should be though. It’s a slow, ancient exercise that is known to provide a good bit of arthritis relief.

Use an Exercise Ball as a Chair

If you have to sit long hours at your desk, and you find your hips, knees, and back getting even stiffer, maybe you should replace your desk chair with an exercise ball. This has been proven by the Canadian Chiropractic Association to relieve back pain by strengthening the back. This will do wonders in your day-to-day movements.

Stress Balls

Arthritis in the hands can really get in the way of a lot, so even little things like squeezing a small stress ball can really help to make everyday life easier.

Dance Classes

Dance classes are a fun way to get moving without having to sit around and “feel the burn” of a normal workout. They’re a great way to get out and meet new friends, rekindle a romance, and get you feeling like a kid again. What’s not to love?

Golf

Golf is great for people with arthritis. It improves your coordination, balance, strength, and range of motion. It’s a relaxing way to get out, spend some time with friends, and make some new ones.

Bowling

If you switch around your ball weight and the finger hole sizes, then you should still be able to bowl just fine. It’s a great sport that’s fun for the whole family, so don’t count this one out yet!

Pilates

Pilates is designed to help you control your movements. It adds strength, stability, and flexibility to your daily life, so why not give it a try?

Skating

Skating is just fun. It’s a low-impact sport (assuming you don’t fall), a great workout, and a graceful way to get around. If you‘re feeling up to it, lace up and get out there!