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October, 2020

Ways of Staying Active and Managing Arthritis from Home During the Pandemic

managing arthritis

The raging pandemic has brought about a massive disruption in our daily life activities and has caged all of us indoors. Life has become difficult for all but the worst hits have been those who are mandatorily required to be physically active. For example, the ones suffering from acute or chronic arthritis. Managing the condition from within the four walls of the home has become a mammoth task. Marking World Arthritis Day on October 12, here are a few ways which can help in tackling arthritic pain during the pandemic days. Staying active, eating healthy, maintaining social distancing and having a positive attitude can certainly work wonder in providing relief from the pain. 

The two-way approach in dealing with arthritis pain from home

Exercise: Daily dose of specially designed exercise for those suffering from arthritis can help in easing out the pain. These exercises help in maintaining strength, reducing pain and preparing hip or knee for an upcoming joint replacement (in case that has got a little delayed during the pandemic). It is important for arthritis patients to be active that would allow the joints to find a variety of stretching, strengthening and range of motion exercises and decrease the pain. 

Weight loss and diet: A majority of those with arthritis are seen to have extra weight and weight loss remarkably reduces the stress on the joints. It has been observed that every 5 kg of extra weight carried results in25 kg of weight-bearing pressure across the hips and knees. Thus, following a healthy diet plays a crucial role in shedding off extra weight and lessening joint pain. An anti-inflammatory diet including tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fatty fish, and seasonal fresh fruit, particularly blueberries, strawberries, cherries and oranges are great in reducing weight and joint pain among arthritis patients. Foods that should be avoided are white bread and pastries, french fries, soda, oily food and red meat.

Creative ways of staying active at home 

Gyms and parks might have shut down due to the Coronavirus outbreak, but one's rooms and private gardens may be turned into the most appropriate venue for exercising and keeping oneself active and arthritis at bay. All one must do is get a little smart with the ways of exercising. 

Play indoor games, swim or take a masked walk to be active: Table tennis and golf at one's own garden are great ways of staying active. Swimming too could be a safe option as studies have shown that the risk of transmitting Covid-19 virus through water stands to be minimal. However, physical distancing must be kept in mind at an outdoor pool or other body of water. Going out for a walk with masks on and the hand sanitiser in the pocket is another wonderful way of being active and keeping the joints flexible. It also means getting some dose of fresh air and nature's touch. 

Become pro with creative movements: Getting creative with movement is way too helpful in managing arthritis and making indoor exercise work. Leveraging technology and taking the help of online classes for exploring new and creative ways of keeping oneself active in the form of aerobic activities, Zumba, Yoga, strength training, Pilates are appreciable. Virtual Zoom dance classes or creative movement workshops are gaining immense popularity in terms of keeping oneself active from the comfort of homes. 

Turn household chores, gardening into ways of being active: Apart from the regular exercise one does, it is essential to be smart and convert daily chores into modes of being active. Gardening, vacuuming or cleaning out the garage are great ways of staying active at home. 

Pandemic has thrown a hard challenge, just not with the virus but also with other ailments. However, we must understand the necessity to adapt to the new normal and find out ways of remaining active at home and control arthritis effectively. 



Dr Shweta Singhai

Consultant - Rheumatology

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