Offer up these simple tips to aid arthritic clients reduce flare-ups, decrease symptoms, and experience more pain-free days!
In 2020, COVID-19 changed the world. Businesses closed, social gatherings ceased, isolation grew, and the fear of catching the Corona Virus was on the rise. In fact, for those with compromised immune systems due to chronic autoimmune diseases, the increased stresses of navigating a world full of dangerous contagions has led to an increase in the consumption of medications to battle painful symptoms and lingering flare-ups. Isolation and loneliness have led to an increase in feelings of depression, anxiety, and overall mood, which directly impacts the ability to deal with painful symptoms.
While many people suffering from the symptoms of arthritis have been spending most of their time in isolated environments, there are many simple practices that may greatly decrease the risk and severity of flare-ups. To help reduce painful and swollen joints, improve mood, and increase quality of life, implementing a few of these simple techniques may make a world of difference.
- Drink Water! The body is comprised of about 60% water. Dehydration causes a decrease in function of all major organs, muscles, and even bones.
- Get to Sleep! Adults of all ages need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is when your body repairs muscles, organs, and cells. In this resting state, chemicals will circulate in the blood that help to strengthen the immune system.
- Set a Schedule! Plan your days! Get into a routine of good habits. Setting alarms to get up, make phone calls, exercise, cleaning, and meals will provide a daily purpose. Writing “to-do” lists on a paper calendar and crossing off items as they are accomplished provides a heightened sense of satisfaction and self-worth.
- Eat Real Food! The fewer ingredients, the better. Read labels to avoid too much sugar, salt, and oil. I call these the “S.O.S.” These are foods that are known to cause
inflammation and increase the risk for flare-ups. For example, if you have the choice between an apple or apple pie, choose the apple with less
ingredients. It also most likely contains less sugar or processed ingredients.
- Exercise Daily! Think of exercise as something you “work in” each day and not as a “work out.” Improving muscle strength, mobility, flexibility, and cardiovascular health reduces symptoms of autoimmune disease.
- Hiring a virtual Arthritis Fitness Specialist once or twice a week to provide accountability and write safe and effective exercise programs is a great start!
- Practice Mindfulness! The simple act of taking a few deep and meaningful breaths throughout the day is a great way to reduce stress and decrease negative physiological responses. Incorporating some gentle stretches in the morning, after periods of inactivity, and before bed is also a great way to bring awareness to the body, ease tension, reduce anxiety, and lessen the symptoms associated with arthritis.
Arthritis Fitness Specialist: A 15 hour Online Course Authored by Christine Conti is available now on MedFit Classroom.
Christine M. Conti, M.Ed, BA is and international fitness educator and presenter. She currently sits on the MedFit Education Advisory Board and has been nominated to be the 2020 MedFit Network Professional of the Year. She is currently writing the MedFit Network Arthritis Fitness Specialist Course and is the CEO and founder of ContiFit.com and Let’s FACE It Together™ Facial Fitness & Rehabilitation. Christine is also the co-host of Two Fit Crazies & A Microphone Podcast and the co-owner of TFC Podcast Production Co.