Arthritis Friendly Hobbies
That’s it ladies and gents, we are well and truly into autumn.
The days are growing shorter and it won’t be long before Jack Frost starts nipping at your nose. This means we won’t be spending as much time outside as we did during the summer and that’s fine because we have 7 great arthritis friendly hobbies to enjoy. All in the comfort of your own home.
Living with arthritis is different for everyone but the vast majority experience painful swelling, stiff joints and fatigue. The symptoms can get in the way of enjoying the things we love. I’ve put thinking cap on and gotten a little creative with how you or your loved one can keep doing the things they love this autumn.
7 Great Arthritis Friendly Hobbies
Painting is a great way to let loose and relax. It increases mobility and dexterity in your fingers too. Whether you are a master painter or like to paint by numbers its a great hobby to have. If I was to recommend anything it would be:
- Easy Grip Paint Brushes: There are specialist paint brushes out there that can really help if you or a loved one is living with arthritis. They come with soft grips and large handles for easy use.
- Short Stints: Painting generally involves standing or sitting and you can be doing this for long periods at a time so its important to take breaks and move about so you don’t become too stiff.
Getting lost in a good book is a great way to while away the cold and windy hours this autumn. But, if you are anything like me you will eventually become hunched over without realizing it and this won’t do your arthritis any favors. So, here are a few handy tips to make it easier.
- Book Holders: There a great book stands our there so that you don’t need to worry about holding the book up and open. Something my hands cramps in this position, so a book holder is ideal. Even if you have to stop reading to answer the phone or make a cuppa, the book holder keeps the page you where on.
- Audio books: Audio books are a great way to relax, whether you are cooking, doing yoga or simply sitting down to with a cup of tea, you can listen to the story instead of reading it. This way there are no cramps, no stiffness and you can be doing something else at the same time.
- E-readers: Reading a book on your tablet means that will be lighter, you can increase the font and even the back light should you need to. The overall reading experience is heightened and everything is that little bit easier.
Knitting and crochet are actually great ways to exercise your wrists, hands and fingers . They can help with stiffness and improve dexterity and overall help with finger flexibility. There are a few tips that will really help you enjoy knitting and crochet.
- Warming Up: Warm ups are important when you do anything, always warm up beforehand. The best way to do that is to slowly rotate your wrists and stretch your fingers. Then before you start, make sure you are comfortable.
- Choose Wool: There are number of different options you can use to crochet and knit. There is elastic options and pure wool. Wool is more flexible than elastic. Your hands and wrists will thank you for the 100% option.
- Specific Needles: Metal needles or hooks are cool and easy slip. But they can also be too heavy. This is why wooden or plastic hooks/needles are the best for arthritic hands.
- Short Periods: Doing anything for too long can leave us feeling stiff and uncomfortable, adding arthritis to the mix will only make it worse. This is why short periods of knitting/crochet is the best way to go.
With yoga you are holding your body in various positions and poses. This can help ease joint pain, stiffness and improve flexibility, range of motion and balance. On top of that, it can help reduce stress and anxiety. In order to get the best out of it, here are a few tips.
- Get a good supportive yoga mat: You will stand, kneel and sit on the yoga mat so its always important to get the right one for you. This will make each yoga session easier and more comfortable
- Avoid & adjust poses that might aggravate your symptoms: Only you know what will aggravate your symptoms so don’t feel pressured to carry out yoga poses that will cause a painful problem. If you are in a yoga class, let the instructor know and they can share alternatives with you. If you are doing yoga at home from a YouTube video, make sure you look for yoga poses good for arthritis.
- Find a comfortable resting pose: Not all resting poses are suitable for those living with arthritis and can cause a little discomfort. Ask your instructor for advice or find one that best suits you.
On a cold day, there is nothing like the smell of coddle simmering on the cooker or home baked goodies cooling from the oven. It will certainly warm the cockles of your heart.
Of course, operating around the kitchen has its difficulties when you are living with arthritis, suddenly the kitchen has become a minefield of obstacles. The great thing is that there are many assistive products out there now to help you mange, products like the:
- Uccello Kettle: With it’s unique tilt-to-pour action, you never need to lift, balance or strain yourself for a cup of tea, filling pot for pasta or even making a pot noodle.
- Floor Gel Mats: In the kitchen, we generally stand for long periods of time. A gel mat to stand on can relieve and pressure on your legs, hips and back.
- One Touch openers: This takes the pain of having to grip and twist for jars and tins. It walks around the can and switches itself off automatically.
When I say puzzling, I don’t just mean jigsaws. This can be word games, cross words, sudoku etc. Games like these will keep the brain active and sharp and that’s a plus for anyone. Of course, dealing with tiny piece of a jigsaw or holding a pan can be tricky when you have a flare up in your hands or fingers.
Not to worry, I have thought of a few adaptive ideas to get around this:
- Grips for Pens/Pencils: Many shops across he country sell pen grips for 20cent or more and they sit on 99% of pens and pencils. This will help with your grip and make it so much easier to use.
- Online Apps: If your back, hands, fingers etc. aren’t up for crouching over a puzzle or leaning in to complete a crossword there are online options now that just take the slightest tough of your finger on the screen. The options are endless, there are millions of online game apps that are free and offer so many ingenious options to choose from.
The great thing about walking and hiking is that it can be adapted to any fitness level. You just need to start off slow and when you are feeling up to it, you can increase the intensity of your speed on duration. Remember, its important never to overdo it with arthritis.
Start on an even path and plan shorter walks, over time you will build up the strength and stamina to tackle some more challenging. There a re a few supportive aids you can use to help make this hobby more enjoyable:
- Supportive Shoes: Going out in any old shoes won’t be good enough. Make sure you have proper footwear with plenty of supports that are comfortable.
- Braces: Knee and ankle braces can provide additional support
- Walking Stick/Walking Poles: These can help you keep your balance and stability. They make waling a little easier and are there to also absorb the impact of your steps so there is less pressure on your lower joints.