Don't let OA spoil your fun this winter!

Diet and Fitness


Whether you love winter or hate it, you'll get more out of the season if you can enjoy some winter activities. Find out how people with osteoarthritis (OA) can get active during the winter.

I'd like to be more active this winter, but won't this make my OA worse?

Actually, normal levels of exercise and activity are good for your joints. Regular physical activity can improve your fitness, improve or maintain joint function, ease pain and stiffness, and help you reach and maintain a healthy body weight. So be sure to include some physical activity in your plans this winter.

What kinds of winter activities are good for people with OA?

The winter season brings many new activities that people with OA can enjoy. You may want to:

  • get outdoors: Winter doesn't have to stop you from enjoying outdoor activities. Just check with your doctor before you get started, dress for the weather (layers are best), and choose footwear with plenty of traction so you're less likely to fall. Try a brisk walk around your neighbourhood. Make a snowman with the kids or grandchildren. If your doctor is OK with it, go skating or cross-country skiing.
  • give mall-walking a try: For those who don't love winter weather, mall-walking offers a way to get out of the house and stay out of the cold. Join a local mall-walking program or start one of your own.
  • make a splash: Winter is a great time to enjoy aquatic sports (in an indoor pool, of course!). Whether you prefer team sports (such as aquafit) or individual sports (such as swimming), there are plenty of ways to stay active all winter long.

Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity on most days of the week, and include strength, flexibility, and aerobic activities (avoid high-impact activities such as running). Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have been inactive for a long time.

Exercise alone may help to slow joint damage; however, it won't stop your OA from progressing over time.

How can sticking with my treatment plan help me enjoy winter activities?

By sticking to your treatment plan, you can help keep your OA under control. This will make it easier for you to enjoy winter activities. To get the most out of your treatment plan, you will need to take your medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor and follow your doctor's advice for healthy lifestyle changes.

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if:

  • you're not sure what your medication is for
  • you're not sure if your medication is working
  • you're not sure how to take your medication
  • you're having side effects or you're concerned about the possibility of side effects
  • you have trouble remembering to take your medication
  • you experience a new symptom
  • you have trouble doing things you would normally be able to do on your own (e.g. dressing, bathing)
  • your OA seems to be getting worse
  • you have any questions about your OA or your OA treatment plan

Get involved in your treatment by raising questions and discussing your concerns with your doctor and pharmacist. This will make it easier for you to find a treatment plan you can stick with, which will lead to better control of your OA.

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