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Monday, February 28, 2011

Being Active with Physical Limitations

Don’t let arthritis slow you down.
  • To help joint movement and make your joints feel less stiff, do stretching exercises almost daily.
  • Stretches and exercises are best done when your muscles and joints are warm.
  • Try stretching after doing the dishes, taking a warm bath or after a walk.
  • Take care of numb or tingly feet or hands.
  • Never walk barefoot.
  • Keep your feet and hands warm.
  • Use tools with thicker grips to help you hold them easily.
Manage breathing problems.
  • Break your activity into 5 min. or 10 min. blocks of time. Rest in between if you need to, then try to do a few minutes more.
  • Wait an hour after eating before you exercise.
  • Try being active soon after taking your breathing medicine.
Preventing falls
  • Be sure that stairwells and halls are well lit.
  • Take your time on steps and curbs. Look at the steps.
  • On icy days, walk with a friend or do indoor activities.
  • Put nonskid backing on rugs.
  • If reaching makes you dizzy, put things on low shelves.
  • Strength training and stretching exercises will help your balance.
  • Walking and strength training will strengthen your bones.
Work on upper body stretches.
  • Upper body stretches can make it easier to do everyday activities like reaching for things, getting dressed, and doing household chores.
  • Do upper body exercises.
  • Work on neck flexibility.
  • Neck flexibility makes it easier to do everyday activities like turning your head.
  • Do gentle neck exercises.
Get a grip!
  • Squeeze a soft ball to improve the strength of your grip.
  • Use special equipment to help open jars or grasp things.
  • Use foam rubber and tape to build up handles on your tools.
Protect your back and leg muscles.
  • Good leg and lower back flexibility can help you prevent back injuries and reduce muscle soreness.
  • Use raised garden beds or long-handled tools.
  • Bend your knees and not your back when lifting.
  • Try back stretches.
Do exercises that slowly increase your strength.
  • Strong muscles can help prevent pain and injury.
  • Use a stretch band looped around a heavy object like a table leg.
  • Climb stairs, a few at a time, to increase leg strength.
Move a little more every day.
  • Movement gets oxygen to your muscles.
  • Do activities that use large muscles—try walking or vacuuming.
  • Build up! Start with 5-10 minutes of walking at one time, and increase by 2-3 minutes every few days, until you can comfortably do 30 minutes.

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