When your back, hips, and other joints hurt, it’s tempting to crawl into bed with a heating pad and avoid doing anything. Yet staying active is important if you want to keep your joints and muscles flexible. Getting out of the house will also help prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation that you may be experiencing.Here is a list of seven fun things to try if you’re living with ankylosing spondylitis (AS). These activities will not only take your mind off your pain, but they may also help to control it.

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.