This shop for getting back to active with arthritis has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhatInconvenience #CollectiveBias
This past weekend I went on a mile long nature hike with my family and it was fantastic. I enjoyed every last bit of it because a couple of years ago it was something I couldn’t do with them easily. About four years ago I had a really bad flare up of osteoarthritis that knocked me off of my active game for a lot longer than I ever would have wanted.
When my husband was deployed I worked with a personal trainer to help keep me active, get me into better shape, and relieve some of the stress that goes along with deployments. It worked. While I still had a lot of stress and emotions to deal with, the personal trainer was getting me out of the house and among the rest of the living in society and I was making progress with him. I was getting stronger and it felt fantastic.
Then my knees started popping. All the time.
When my trainer noticed this he immediately told me that shouldn’t be happening, so I went to the doctor, x-rays were taken and sure enough I had the early stages of osteoarthritis. This didn’t surprise me because just a few years earlier I had another doctor give me orders to be tested for rheumatoid arthritis because I’d been having too much pain in my fingers, wrist and elbow. Luckily those results came back negative, so I just had to deal with predicting the weather with my joints. Now that the arthritis was appearing in my knees and hips with an official diagnosis of osteoarthritis I left the doctor with instructions to keep being active, but only as long as it didn’t hurt. So, I kept up with my trainer and exercises.
After a few more weeks I would start to get extremely stiff after workouts. Stiffness that made it extremely difficult to get around the house. Then different exercises started to hurt. Not muscle fatigue hurt. Not just a bit uncomfortable, but sharp pain in my knees and hips during squats and lunges. Sadly, I had to give up my personal trainer. I was on my own figuring out what I could and couldn’t do. This was a challenge because the pain would come and go.
Over the next couple of years I’d test out my joints when they were feeling good, only to be disappointed when my pain would return. I spent more time in the house on the couch, and less time having fun with my family. Sometimes I’d get out with the family, but I’d sit on the sidelines and watch. I told myself I just want to enjoy watching. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, but I told myself what I needed to make myself feel better.
This past weekend, I was out with my family! I walked a mile with them with only minimal stiffness following! It was a glorious feeling.
I walked over this bridge.
Which had these stairs leading up to it; and back down.
I walked uphill trails. The kids ran. I’ll stick with walking for now.
We also went down some beautiful stairs on the trail.
It wasn’t so long ago that I would have cringed at the thought of doing any of this and my knees and/or hips would have given out half way through this walk.
I’m back to active! This is an amazing feeling.
Luckily I have a husband who can remind me of all of the things I need to bring with me now that I’m getting back to being active in the world again. I can’t believe how much I forget to bring with me because it’s been so long since I had to bring these things with me.
May was National Arthritis Month, and in case you’re getting back to active with arthritis, I wanted to share this list of essentials in hopes it will help you be prepared so you can enjoy every moment of activity you find yourself in.
Getting Back to Active after Arthritis Essentials
- Backpacks or Handbags: Bring a comfortable bag to carry both things you bring with you and anything you find and want to carry with you. Luckily my husband carried the bag this time so I could have a little more mobility and freedom to take pictures, but I do have my own variety of bags at home for just about any activity we’re planning.
- Water Bottle: If you have arthritis you probably already know how important staying hydrated is. Now that you’re getting out, away from the house and/or car, you need to carry that water with you. The heat and humidity plus the activity had me drink all of my water bottle, plus one or two of the extras my husband had packed! Don’t risk an arthritis flare up due to dehydration.
- Advil: Bring your Advil with you in case of an arthritis flare up. I know when I walk my feet and fingers swell which can sometimes cause a little bit of pain. I also found that since I’m not as strong as I once was (but I’ll get back there!) it’s also easier for me to step or twist wrong which can cause my arthritis pain to flare up in my knees and hips. I keep the Advil on hand so I can take it if I need it.Speaking of arthritis pain, did you know Advil now has an Easy Open cap! This is perfect for people with arthritis. They are so easy to open that even if the joints in my fingers are hurting I can still open it.
- Quality Shoes: I have a few different pairs of shoes that I wear depending on how my feet hurt and what I’ll be doing. I knew I’d be on a trail in the heat for this walk so I wore my flip flops. Before you remind me how bad flip flops can be, I promise you these are the best for my feet in this situation to keep the pain down as much as possible. Plus my flip flops have soles that are a lot like tennis shoes. They are thick, cushioned and have arch supports. They’re pretty schnazzy. Because I know my feet swell so easily this is the best option for me if I’m not going to be doing a lot of climbing or needing my feet to be protected for other things. I also have two other pairs of tennis shoes, one that was professionally fitted to my feet.
- Camera: Now that you’re getting out there in the world, traveling, spending more active time with family or just sight seeing in your local area, you’ll want to have a camera to keep tabs on everything you’re seeing. At least the important things.
- Smile: Don’t forget to get in the picture too and smile! Enjoy the time you’re spending with your family or out in nature. Make sure you get those pictures of you having fun too! You earned it by taming your arthritis!This picture of me is actually one of triumph. I never would have managed to climb that big chair a year ago. There aren’t any steps up to it and I couldn’t jump that high. I had to bring my knees and hips up to angles I never thought I’d manage again! I’m very much proud of this picture at the Three Bears Chairs.
- Better Living Toolkit: Want more information on arthritis and living a life of yes? Make sure you sign up to receive this information and resource packed toolkit specifically for people with arthritis. You can even select the kit that makes the most sense to you based on the type of arthritis you have.
Don’t forget to head to Walmart to pick up Advil with Easy Open Arthritis Cap. I found mine near the pharmacy in the pain reliever aisle.
Do you have any other tips to add to my list? I’d love to hear what your essentials are. Just share them in the comments below.