Having an active lifestyle is the key to health. Doctors have found countless benefits from reduced risk of heart attack and stroke to better mental and emotional health. However, people suffering from chronic pain are often limited in what activities they can enjoy. Let’s look at 5 pain-friendly hobbies you can try at any age to get you more active and engaged.
What is the right amount of activity?
Experts generally recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Being active is important. But, it’s essential for people to remember this activity does not need to be in continuous blocks of time.
Your recommended amount of exercise can be done a little each day. The key thing is discussing the right kinds of activity for you with your doctor or physical therapist. From here, you can find the right ways to build physical activity and other hobbies into your life.
Top 5 pain-friendly hobbies
Some of your favorite hobbies may no longer be possible due to conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia. With you in mind, we’ve put together this list of pain-friendly hobbies that will help reduce pain, reduce stress and anxiety, and keep your mind sharp.
1) Knitting and crocheting
Knitting and crocheting is a perfect pain-friendly hobby. It’s the perfect balance of improving dexterity while helping to reduce stress and improve memory. Best of all, you get to create something for yourself or a loved one.
To prevent painful flare-ups, you can:
- take breaks as you create
- stretch before you get started
- use ergonomic hooks and needles approved by the Arthritis Foundation
It’s also a good idea to use a heating pad or soak your hands in warm water before you get started.
Swimming can be an ideal exercise if you’re living with chronic illness. Researchers found swimming boosts lifespan and decreases the risk of heart attack and stroke by 41%. This is doubly true for people with rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain, as swimming is zero-impact on joints.
Since the water supports your weight, you can build muscle and increase flexibility. If you are looking for something more exciting than swimming laps, take a water aerobics class at your local gym. Seek the advice of an instructor to find your best strokes and ensure your comfort.
3) Creating art
There are so many different ways you can create art. One of the simplest ways is with adult coloring books. Popular options include pages where you can color famous places like the Eiffel Tower, interesting geometric shapes and much more. Many of the books also include additional fun puzzles, crosswords and memory exercises.
Another great option is painting. Like with knitting and crocheting, painting can:
- improve dexterity
- reduce the perception of pain
- reduce stress
Once again, be sure to buy ergonomic equipment. This includes paint brushes and pens with grips and handles designed to better support your wrists and hands. Strive to stretch at least once an hour.
Gardening is another excellent pain-friendly hobby. It’s all about spending time blending creativity, light exercise and watching something come alive. Psychology Today found a wide array of benefits from reducing stress to increasing endorphins — the happy chemicals in our blood.