1. Go for a walk in the woods
Walking should already be part of your daily routine. It helps loosen tight joints and is low impact enough to prevent you from putting too much strain on them.
Start by walking for 5 or 10 minutes, and gradually increase the amount of time as you feel up to it. Weather permitting, go for a walk outdoors. The fresh air, sunshine, and exposure to plants and trees will give your mood a boost too. Bring a friend — human or canine — along to keep you company.
2. Go snorkeling
Swimming is one of the best exercises you can do when you have arthritis. The water offers resistance that helps strengthen your muscles, yet it’s buoyant and gentle on your joints. Research finds water exercise helps improve pain and quality of life in people with ankylosing spondylitis.
Snorkeling is an especially good water activity for people with this condition. Lifting and turning your head to breathe can be hard on the joints in your neck. The snorkel and mask let you keep your head down in the water and relax your neck. Plus, the mask will give you a window into the colorful aquatic life in your local lake or ocean.
3. Take a yoga or tai chi class
Yoga combines exercise and meditation in one program that’s good for both your body and mind. The movements improve flexibility, strength, and balance, while the deep breathing helps reduce stress and anxiety. If you’ve never practiced before, find a beginner or gentle yoga class — or one that’s designed for people with arthritis. Always work within your comfort level. If a pose hurts, stop.
Tai chi is another ideal exercise program for people with arthritis. This ancient Chinese practice also combines elements of physical exercise with relaxation techniques. It can help improve balance, flexibility, and aerobic endurance, while still being low impact and safe on your joints. Research finds that regular tai chi practice improves flexibility and reduces disease activity in people with ankylosing spondylitis.