It is often hard for people with arthritis to exercise as frequently as we want to — and it is even more difficult when we are confined indoors during these winter months, which, for many, are colder and with worse weather.
- Chair yoga – “get fit where you sit” by doing yoga….in a chair. For some info, click here.
- Jumping rope – Buy a jump rope and have at it! Whether it’s from a sporting goods store or the toy aisle at the dollar store, it’s all the same — a great way to get the blood flowing. Here is one 10-minute workout. Remember, do workouts at your own pace!
- Dancing – create a playlist to your favorite song and dance around your house like no one is watching!
- Wii, X-Box Kinect, or Playstation Move - these video gaming systems allow you to move about without a wired controller, and your motions are a part of the game! There are fitness and dance options, too.
- Chores – yes, cooking and cleaning burn calories and will keep you moving. Doing chores can be exercise, and may contribute to better health.
- Stair-master – No, I don’t mean a piece of exercise equipment — I mean, your stairs! Walk up and down the steps of your home to become a true stair master.
- Exercise TV – Verizon FiOS and Comcast (among others) offer “Exercise TV” On Demand under the Sports section. There are lots of fun options from dance workouts to pilates, yoga, tai chi, and more.
- Resistance bands – rubber resistance bands are a great way to tone and build muscle, and can be very low-impact.
- Suspension training - TRX is one example of “suspension training” where you use your own body weight to work out. Many physical therapists use this in their offices, and it can be hung over any door in your home. It comes with an instructional DVD.
- Jumping Jacks – Jump in place and do some jumping jacks in your living room!
- Sit-ups or crunches – Same thing, you can do these at home! If you have hardwood floors, invest in a yoga mat so that your back finds some comfort while doing your sit-ups or crunches.
- Touch your toes – Yes, just doing repetitive “bend down and touch your toes” motions can be good for you. Even if you can’t ACTUALLY touch your toes, go as far as you can!
- Stretch – Simple stretching really does get the blood flowing. For the more advanced, yoga is a great option. No matter how severe your arthritis, you can stretch. Some people can more than others. It will increase flexibility, too.
- Neck rolls – Roll your head side to side and touch your tin to your chest. Be careful with tilting your head back, though — some doctors advise against this.
- Wall or Bed push-ups – Most of us with arthritis cannot do regular push-ups but what about doing a similar motion while standing against a wall or while on your bed to make it easier?
- Torso twists – Stand with your feet planted flat and firm on the ground, put your hands on your hips, and repeatedly twist your torso side to side, keeping your legs and feet still and only moving the trunk of your body.
- Light weights – Get 1, 3, or 5 pound weights or weighted balls, and do some bicep curls or arm extensions while watching television. You can even do the curling motion without weights to tone your biceps a bit.
- Jog in place – No explanation needed here. Jog in place, as fast or slow as you need to, with as many breaks as you need to.
- Seated leg extensions – Sit down in a chair and simply extend your leg out in front of you, one at at time to bend and straighten your knee. Do it with or without ankle weights.
- Ankle flexions and extensions – While seated, roll your ankle all the way around and also try some ankle flexions and extensions.
- Bounce a ball – You know those big rubber bouncy balls that you used to play in the pool with as a kid? Get one — or use a basketball — and practice bouncing it for hand-eye coordination. You’ll be dribbling like a basketball pro in no time, and your hand-eye coordination will be improved!
- Sun salutations – This popular yoga move is a great way to get the blood flowing first thing in the morning. For a simple tutorial, click here. If you can’t do all of it, just try to at least do the Mountain to Hands Up portion. It is a great stretch!
- Laying bicycle kick – Practice just laying on your back, legs up in the air, and kick them in a motion like you are riding a bicycle! For a video, click here.
- Try hand motion exercises – Keep your hand moving. Remember – use it or lose it. Check out this instructional video about range of motion exercises for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Laugh! Laughter yoga is a fun new trend that’s hitting the world of wellness. Laughing burns calories and releases endorphins that may help you to feel good!
I hope that these tips and ideas will help you keep active and fit during the winter months. Remember, too, that a brisk walk (while bundled up, of course!) is a great way to get some fresh air and to stay moving.
Remember to ALWAYS consult with your doctor and/or physical therapist before starting ANY new exercise program or activity! Also, be sure to ask your rheumatologists for other suggestions on ways to work out and get physical with arthritis! Always remember that levels of ability differ, and only do what you can. There’s no shame in trying!
And it’s never too late, you’re never too old – Check out this 72 year old fitness instructor for seniors who is an amazing inspiration!
Lastly, you may want to check out this WebMD Rheumatoid Arthritis Exercises Slide Show for even further tips! Enjoy
Do you have any indoor exercise activities for people with arthritis? Please leave a comment and share!