By Rebecca Gillett, MS OTR/L – Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast Co-Host
We are already in the middle of summer. Where did the time go? It seems like the stay at home orders early in the pandemic just made time feel like it was going so slow, but here we are in July. Prime summertime to get outdoors (if it’s not too hot) and get moving.
We know all the research supports staying physically active as one of the best strategies for managing arthritis, no matter what type you may have. But it’s not always easy. Especially when some options to stay active may be limited due to COVID-19. Then, of course, there’s also that daily nagging and frustrating thing we live with every day: pain.
As an occupational therapist, I’m always teaching other patients the importance of staying physically active, but more importantly, how to maintain that physical activity on a regular basis. The best way I have found is to incorporate movement into my daily routines. This helps establish a new habit that becomes part of what you do each day. Easier said than done. I completely get it. There are some days I feel like I should really practice what I preach. My best intentions sometimes don’t always win when I wake up with more pain than I had at bedtime.
During this pandemic, I’ve tried to incorporate movement into my day more and build it around my morning routine. At first, I was doing some yoga stretches while I waited for my coffee to brew. Now, I’ve switched to going on morning walks after I get the coffee set up so I can beat the heat. I have been doing it for a few weeks and have come to enjoy this quiet morning walk. If my husband isn’t with me, I listen to a podcast or audio book. Sometimes, I just revel in the quiet and love seeing all the flowers blooming in the neighborhood. It’s my time for self-care, both physically and mentally. Do yourself a favor and make time for yours. You won’t regret it.
But if you’re struggling to take that first step to keep moving your joints and your body, it can be difficult to find what works for you. Take baby steps to get moving. It’s best to start low and slow. And even more important, find movement and physical activity that brings you joy and something to look forward to doing every day.
In this episode of the Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast, Cedric Bryant, PhD, president and chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise (ACE), shares tips and ideas with co-host Julie Eller and me on how we can keep our bodies moving at home, despite the pandemic, and how to safely do so. He also shares information on why it’s so important for people living with arthritis to stay physically active.