When people are diagnosed with arthritis, often their greatest fear is losing the ability to participate in the activities that they love. Activities such as recreational and competitive sports, or hobbies may be affected – in some cases, the fear of losing the ability to do these activities can be worse than the physical symptoms from the arthritis itself.
A person’s valued activities are incredibly important to both their mental and physical health. Losing the ability to participate in one’s favourite activities can have negative effects on their emotional well-being, and for that reason it is important for those diagnosed with arthritis to find a way to continue to stay active, especially in meaningful activities when possible.
In some cases, a particular activity may simply not be possible when dealing with arthritis – in this case it should be possible to find a similar activity that can be tailored to meet the needs of the person participating. Some examples of tailored activities can include:
- If you love to host family dinners, you could continue to host the event but change it to a “potluck” style where everyone brings a dish.
- If you love playing sports, consider joining a lower-level league for fun, and be sure to focus on appropriate strengthening and conditioning exercises to keep your body ready and able.
- If hiking is your thing, consider limiting yourself to gentler hikes, and be sure to condition your body in between hikes.
- If you love to travel, be mindful of your limitations and choose travel that can accommodate an easier, less-strenuous style.
An arthritis diagnosis does not have to mean that you must stop all of your favourite activities immediately. With proper planning, you can make appropriate changes to your valued activities to make them continue to be enjoyable for you.