7 Things You Can Still Do With Arthritis

For some people, a diagnosis of arthritis can seem like a life sentence of pain, inactivity, and frustration, but this doesn't have to be the case. And because there's currently no cure for arthritis, it's very important that you find ways to not just survive, but thrive.

In his book Arthritis Survival:The Holistic Medical Treatment Program for Osteoarthritis, author Robert S. Ivker points out that "true healing is far greater than simply the absence of illness. The most effective way to cure any chronic disease is to heal your life."

So while it's important to be caught up on the latest meds and therapies, it's just as important that you have a strong social network, eat healthy and maintain a full lifestyle. This article shows you seven easy ways to spice up your life and stay active.

Go For a Bike Ride

Biking in the great outdoors keeps you healthy and fit. It's also plain, good old fun. It's often recommended for people with knee arthritis as a way to strengthen muscles. However, many others with arthritis can find it uncomfortable.

There are ways to up the comfort factor. For instance, assistive devices for bicycles can help alleviate arm and wrist strain. You can also make sure your bike fits your height and arm length so you don't have to strain. Adjust the handles, seat height and choose a well-padded seat.

If these methods don't work, it may be time to trade in your two-wheeler for three wheels. Adult tricycles are becoming increasingly popular. They help take the strain off your body caused by trying to maintain proper balance. Because they are closer to the ground, they're also easier to mount and dismount. Some even come with caddies or baskets so you can tuck away any goodies you pick up on your ride.

Dance Your Cares Away

We're not talking hip-hop or popular dancing that can take their toll on your knees, hips and back. But if you've ever watched movies like Strictly Ballroom and Dance With Me you know that ballroom dancing can be very easy on your joints while letting you work up a sweat. It's a good alternative to other medium and high impact activities, such as jogging, the treadmill, or tennis.

Also, ballroom dancing is very social. You can get closer to your loved one, or make new friends. It's quite technical as well, requiring you to remember lots of dance steps, ball changes, turns and more, so it keeps you mentally sharp.

There are many types of ballroom dances, ranging from very slow (the Bolero) to quick-paced (jive and Samba), so you can choose the style that best suits your activity level and physical condition.

Go Diving

If you're looking for a total escape then scuba diving fits the bill. It's a great activity for anyone - from a seven-year-old with juvenile arthritis to a swinging sixty-something with osteoarthritis. According to Johns Hopkins University swimming is an ideal exercise for people with arthritis and joint problems. 

Kick things up a notch by trying scuba diving. You'll get the same great workout, plus the added benefit of being in touch with nature (another great healer). The buoyancy of water helps lighten your body weight and the weight of the scuba pack load, so it's easier to move. You can ease your load even more by using the Tote and Float scuba gear, which houses the tank and floats in the water, rather than resting on your back.

Dive at a time of day when you usually feel your best and strongest. Keep your outings short, about 30 minutes to 45 minutes.

Paint a Picture

In recent years art therapy has become a valid form of treatment for recovery from injury, or medical conditions such as depression. Painting can be a form of art therapy. And an art class is a great way to meet people you already have something in common with.

According to Medscape, painting can also prevent shoulder problems in children with juvenile arthritis. People with hand and wrist arthritis can choose brushes such as Silver Lead Easy Grip Brushes, which are ergonomically designed for people with arthritis and other disabilities. If fatigue sets in, paint on your lap or on a low table instead of on an easel.
Point and Click
Got an eye for a breathtaking landscape, a quirky urban scene, or a beautiful face? Photography is an enduring art form that still inspires and uplifts many people. It's easy on the joints, and cameras are light so toting them around isn't a problem.

With the introduction of digital photography, it's also a much cheaper hobby than it was in the past. Better still, you can make money from it by uploading your pictures to websites such as Istockphoto.com or Bigstockphoto.com.

Hop On a Snowmobile

The winter months can leave your joints feeling painful and stiff. It can slow you down to a crawl. If you feel the need for a little speed, hop on a snowmobile. These wide-bodied rides can take you across the snow at invigorating speeds. With the wind and flakes blowing in your face it's a quick-fix way to feel alive and carefree again.

You can easily rent one at a ski resort, and you can mount and dismount it in the same spot, so you won't have to strain yourself to move it. Get a lot of rest before heading out so you won't be battling fatigue. Dress in at least two layers of clothing to keep your joints warm and flexible in the cold, winter air. Also, wearing a helmet and goggles is a must.

Or Try A Sea Doo Instead

If you're more of a summer sports fanatic than a winter warrior speeding across sick waves on a Sea Doo may be more for you. They're just as much fun as snowmobiling, and unlike jet skis you can sit down and take the strain off your knees and hips.

Waves can be unpredictable and make controlling these watercrafts a little difficult. If you have arthritis in your shoulder, elbow or wrists, a full-body compression swimsuit may help. Also do a few stretches and warm-ups before you head out, as muscles and joints can get cold quickly out on the sea or lake.

4 Tips for Staying Active with Arthritis

1. Take your pain or anti-inflammatory medications 10 to 15 minutes before you set off on your activity.
2. Use your assistive devices whenever possible.
3. Dress appropriately for the weather so your joints and muscles stay warm and flexible and
4. Never overexert yourself. Know when to call it quits.