Arthritis

ARTHRITIS TIPS
Keeping active is good for your joints and your muscles. Movement increases joint lubrication, exercise increases muscle strength. Strong muscles increase joint support. Exercise regularly with light to moderate resistance.

Walking tips:
1. Wear supportive shoes with a good cushion. You should feel support under your arch. You can add arch support easily if needed. Dr. Scholls sells an inexpensive arch support that is made of a clear gel and shaped like a football. This can be easily added to any shoe.
2. Wear two pair of thin socks to decrease rubbing at the ball of the foot. This helps reduce friction on your skin.
3. If you are just starting a walking program, decide how far you think you can reasonably walk and divide that by four. If you think, “I can walk 4 blocks”. Walk a block in one direction, and then double back to your starting point. Walk a block in the opposite direction and again, double back. That way you never are too far from a place to sit if you need it.
4. It is a good idea to stretch before walking. Do gentle stretches that you hold for 5-10 counts.

Around the house:
1.Use utensils with larger hand grips. OXO makes nicely designed kitchen spoons, knives, etc what have a wider grip. You can also adapt your handles by cutting lengths of pipe insulation (sold at hardware stores). Secure the insulation with tape.
2. Alternate activities. If you have two projects to do, work between the two to give different muscle groups a rest.
3. Move your whole body when you sweep, vacuum or scrub. Don’t bend at the waist and try to reach the area around you from one spot, step forward and back with your feet, like “dancing” with the vacuum.
4. Extended handles on scrub brushes reduce the bending need to clean a bathtub or baseboards.
5. Be sure to hold laundry baskets, bags of groceries or anything that is a little heavier, close to your center of gravity (belly button height). Do not twist your trunk with weight in your arms. Turn using your feet, keeping the back straight.
6. When picking up an object from the floor, bend at the hips and knees, keep the back straight and lift the item, keeping it close to the center of gravity, (belly button height).

Look up the following web sites for more information:
1. http://www.health.gov/paguidelines
2. http://www.apta.org click on “For the Public” in the upper right hand of the page

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