by Robert S. Dinsmoor
23. Buy an exercise ball. Working out on an exercise ball is good for people with arthritis, as it can help improve balance, posture, mobility, and strength.
24. Do balance exercises every day — they can decrease your risk of falling. The simplest balance exercise is to stand on one leg, and then the other, while holding on to the back of a chair, sink, or countertop for support.
25. Join a health club. Health club instructors can advise you on exercising properly, and taking classes can help keep you motivated.
26. Try out a water exercise class. Water exercise can improve strength, endurance, and range of motion while minimizing stress on the joints. Water exercise programs are offered at many YMCAs and health clubs.
27. Try a yoga class. Among the best types of yoga for people with arthritis are Iyengar yoga, which emphasizes strength, flexibility, and balance, and Kripalu yoga, which helps develop inner calm and mental clarity. Yoga classes are offered at many YMCAs and health clubs.
28. Take up tai chi. First practiced centuries ago in China, tai chi is a gentle martial art that combines flowing movement and controlled breathing to help maintain good health. It can improve flexibility, stamina, and cardiovascular health in people with arthritis. You can find classes in tai chi at YMCAs and health clubs, or visit www.taichiforarthritis.com to find resources for arthritis-friendly tai chi.
29. Take a swing at golf. Golf is good exercise, is easy on the joints, and can be played by people with a variety of disabilities. If you’re new to the game, visit a driving range and hit a bucket of balls to see how you like it.
30. Go with the pros. If your exercise routine is getting old, book a session with a personal trainer who has experience with people with arthritis. Most YMCAs and health clubs have personal trainers on staff.
31. To stay motivated, exercise with friends. You can take exercise classes together or even just schedule regular walks together.
32. Take up gardening. Gardening can burn calories, build strength and endurance, improve flexibility, and calm the mind. Remember to pace yourself and buy arthritis-friendly gardening tools.
33. Go ride a bike! Bike riding is great exercise for people with arthritis. It builds strength and endurance but doesn’t put much stress on your hips and knees. (Stationary bikes offer the same benefits.)
34. Keep a daily log of your physical activities. This will help you keep track of your progress and stay motivated to keep going strong.
35. Park and walk. At the mall, for example, park a long way from the mall entrance and walk the distance.
36. Lift weights. Studies have shown that strength training can build muscle around joints, supporting them and protecting them from “wear and tear.” Building strong legs can also help you prevent falls.
37. Make your own weights. If you don’t want to buy weights or join a health club, use soup cans, detergent bottles, or socks filled with beans as makeshift dumbbells.
38. Clean house. Besides being good exercise, cleaning burns calories. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, washing windows or floors for 45–60 minutes burns roughly 150 calories.
39. Walk where you shop. Malls can be excellent places to walk for exercise, offering a controlled climate, comfort, and variety.
40. Try Pilates. Pilates is a type of exercise that emphasizes core strength, balance, and flexibility. It is particularly useful for people who have injuries or limited range of motion. The best way to try Pilates is to take a class at your local YMCA or health club.
41. To stave off boredom and stay motivated, vary your exercise routine. Try alternating among different activities or changing when and where you do them.
42. When you’re traveling, find opportunities to walk. If you’re stuck in the airport, walk around the terminal. If you’re in a new city, see if you can get your hands on a street map and plan a loop.
43. Make a habit of reading the unit prices on supermarket items. The unit price standardizes the cost by the ounce (or by the yard in the case of products such as paper towels), allowing you to see which items are actually the most economical.
44. Choose your bargains — don’t let them choose you. Sometimes the “bargains” advertised by supermarkets aren’t really discounts at all. Try to take note of the average cost of items you buy regularly so you’ll recognize a real bargain when you see one.
45. Buy meat in family packs if the price is economical. Then divide the meat into smaller portions and freeze them in freezer packs for later use.
Last Reviewed on November 10, 2010
Robert S. Dinsmoor is a medical writer and editor based in Massachusetts.
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