May is Arthritis Awareness Month as well as National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, which actually make a beautiful pairing: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exercise has been shown to reduce pain and fatigue and improve function and quality of life for people with arthritis. Current physical activity guidelines suggest getting 30 minutes of exercise a day, at least 5 days a week. Even light or moderate exercise can help, such as walking or housework. If 30 minutes seems like a long stretch, try breaking it up into 3 10-minute sessions throughout the day. You can even sneak in some exercise where you might least expect it: Park at the opposite end of the parking lot and walk briskly into the office, get off one or two floors early and take the stairs, take a dance break when your favorite song comes on! Still at work? Go ahead and dance in your cube or office. If anyone asks, tell them it’s for your own good!
Several NIDILRR-funded projects focus on ways for people with arthritis to increase their physical activity and improve their quality of life:
The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) for Enhancing Activity and Participation for People Living with Arthritis offers articles on getting started with exercise, exercise recommendations, evidence-based programs, and community walking. Make sure to check out their Active Living Podcast series.
Gardening is a great activity – it improves your physical health and your living space with fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetables! AbleData has an excellent article on assistive technology for gardening. Considering upping your growing game to actual farming? They have a factsheet on AT for farming, too!
See how the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Interactive Exercise Technologies and Exercise Physiology for Persons with Disabilities is building accessible exercise equipment and active gaming technology so that everyone can participate in physical fitness.
The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Living partnered with AbleHawks and Allies and Independence, Inc’s Access Task Force to bring the AXIS Dance Company to the center for a workshop. Participants with and without disabilities worked together on creative movement, improvisation, and modern dance.
Care to dive even deeper? Check out some research on arthritis and exercise and physical fitness from our collection:
- Arthritis and exercise/fitness research from NIDILRR-funded projects
- Arthritis and exercise/fitness research from the whole NARIC collection (includes international research)
- Adaptive or accessible exercise research from NIDILRR-funded projects
- Adaptive or accessible exercise research from the whole NARIC collection (includes international research)
- Specific exercises or fitness paths:
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