Spring is a great time to get outside and get active, especially for people with osteoarthritis (OA). Find out how to get active this spring - OA or no OA!
Why should I get active this spring?
You may have heard that people with OA should avoid exercise because it's bad for the joints. But this is not true! Normal activity and exercise are actually good for the joints. For people with OA, getting active has been shown to help:
- improve or maintain joint motion
- increase stamina
- improve muscle strength
- reduce pain and stiffness
- make it easier to do everyday activities
Living an active lifestyle can also help you reach or maintain a healthy weight, which can ease the strain of extra pounds on your joints. And spring is a great time to start!
What types of activities are best for people with OA?
There are many fun ways to get active this spring. Health Canada recommends at least 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week for adults. People with OA should include the following:
- activities that improve muscle strength: One great way to enjoy the outdoors this spring is to take up biking. Not only does it help improve endurance, it can also improve muscle strength, which may help protect your joints and reduce pain. You may also want to try weight training at your local gym.
- activities that improve flexibility: Why not try something new this spring? Enroll in a yoga class or ask your physiotherapist to teach you some new exercises to improve your flexibility and range of motion, which may help relieve joint stiffness.
- activities that improve aerobic fitness: Spring is a great time to enjoy low-impact outdoor aerobic activities, such as walking and biking, which can maintain strength and flexibility while helping to reduce pain. Even sprucing up your yard by gardening and mowing the lawn can offer some aerobic activity. To prevent unnecessary strain on your joints, you may want to avoid high-impact activities such as running.
Is there anything else I should keep in mind?
By sticking to your treatment plan, you can better manage your OA and enjoy being active this spring. Sticking to your treatment plan means using your medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor and following your doctor's recommendations about healthy living with arthritis. If you have any questions about your treatment plan, speak to your doctor.
Also, if you have been inactive all winter, you may find that your fitness level isn't what it used to be. Ease yourself back into physical activity. Start with as much activity as you're comfortable with, and gradually add more as your fitness improves. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if it's been a long time since you last exercised.