“I can’t hike anymore because of my arthritis.” “I can’t bike anymore because of my arthritis.” “My arthritis is so bad I can’t play with my grandkids.” These are all statements I have heard from clients over the last decade of being a physical therapist. Is this truth or is this fiction? Many people acquire a diagnosis like “arthritis” and they are either told or they assume they should stop being active because of their new diagnosis. As a movement specialist and as a licensed physical therapist, I would like to inform and educate those of you living with arthritis so you can be active! The definition of arthritis is inflammation in one or more joints. Common symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsens with age. There are many different types of arthritis but for the purposes of today’s conversation we are going to talk about the most common form which is osteoarthritis.
Most people have innate strengths and weaknesses. This applies with physical endeavors such as running a race or climbing a mountain, but also in the mental, social, or psychological arenas of life. It most cases, people like to spend time doing things they enjoy and training the areas where they excel. We tend to avoid doing activities we struggle with or don’t come easily. For example, I love riding my bike or running for long periods of time at a moderate pace. On the other hand, I do not enjoy short intense interval workouts where I can’t catch my breath. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a specific sport or event built for each person’s individual strengths where we never had to do what we aren’t good at? Unfortunately, that does not exist. How much faster or stronger would you get if you trained your weaknesses?