Arthritis is a very common condition, particularly in adults over 65, with about 70 percent of the senior population showing signs of it on an X-ray. With arthritis comes pain and stiffness in the joints caused either by cartilage breakdown (osteoarthritis) or an immune system disorder (rheumatoid arthritis). The symptoms of joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and redness can range from mild to severe, and often get worse and spread over time. There is no cure for arthritis, so treatments tend to focus on reducing pain levels and preventing further joint damage.
When discomfort increases and range of motion decreases, many find that they struggle to partake in hobbies they once enjoyed. Since arthritis usually starts affecting small joints like those in your fingers and hands, activities involving fine motor skills can become difficult or too painful to continue.
Consistent exercise may seem daunting when experiencing arthritis symptoms, but is actually a great way to reduce or prevent further damage if done carefully. Try lower stress activities like walking, biking, dancing, yoga, Tai Chi, and especially swimming or water aerobics which take pressure off already stressed joints.
Knitting and crocheting, if done consciously with breaks and maintaining awareness of discomfort, can actually help with finger dexterity and movement if pain and ability to grip are still manageable. There are even a number of ergonomic and adapted tools available for easier accessibility.
Reading is another arthritis friendly hobby, especially since you can read about any other topics you are interested in, even for activities which are not currently accessible to you. During pain flares reading can be a healthy escape, and ebooks and audiobooks take away the potential discomfort from holding books and turning pages.
Gardening is another easily adaptable hobby for those with arthritis pain. While more intensive gardening down at ground level may be too difficult, there are so many alternatives like raised beds, gardening tables, vertical gardens, gardening containers, and many adaptive tools designed to be more ergonomic. There are also many different types of plants to explore which do not require as much tending or maintenance.
No matter what activities you enjoy, there are ways to adapt them based on your physical abilities. Occupational therapists and physical therapists can help you find ways to engage in your favorite hobbies in a way that keeps your body safe and healthy. Just always pay attention to your body, respecting its needs when you need to rest or scale back.
Contact CJ & Associates Care Consulting to learn more about how we can support you or your loved one to stay happy and healthy.