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As we move into the summer season, now is the perfect time to go outside, grab some fresh air, and get moving! Maintaining healthy joints is important for everyone, especially people living with hemophilia. Nearly 80% of bleeds in hemophilia occur in the joints, and prioritizing joint health can help lead to a higher quality of life. Exercise and physical activity can protect joint health, but sometimes we all need a little extra motivation. Below are three ways to put a little pep in your step and stay on the path to strong and healthy joints.
- Choose an activity you enjoy
Some people are workout warriors, jumping at any opportunity to go for a long run or participate in a competitive sport. But there are many ways to get active at varying levels of intensity. Choosing an activity, or range of activities, that you find fun can help you start and stick to a lifestyle that incorporates exercise.
Not a marathon maven? Not a problem. If you’re the outdoorsy type, you can go for a hike in your local state park, start a garden in your backyard, run a few errands on foot, or take a dip at the local pool. More of an inside person, or weather not cooperating? Take a yoga class, lift some weights at home or at the gym, or get active in your living room by walking in place, stretching, or doing a Pilates video. Even routine work around your house and yard is a great way to get moving and accomplish a task at the same time.
Whatever your interests and preferences, there’s a way to work them into an active lifestyle for healthier joints. Just make sure to work with your healthcare team to choose activities that are suitable for you and your condition.
- Get in the habit
Establishing a routine is another great way to get and stay motivated. When an activity becomes a part of your daily or weekly routine, you may not even have to think about it to make it happen. For example, get used to taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Park farther away from the grocery store. Start taking walks over your lunch break. Walk in place or do strength exercises while watching TV in the evenings. The more you get used to staying active, the easier it can be to maintain a regimen. And if you miss a day, don’t fret. Go easy on yourself and take breaks as needed, getting back in the saddle as soon as you’re ready. Just remember to work with your healthcare team when starting any new exercise routine.
- Enlist a buddy
Carving out solo time to stay active can be a great form of self-care and an opportunity to check in with yourself. But sometimes finding a partner can make active time more fun and interesting while raising accountability. You and your exercise partner can motivate each other, even sparking a little friendly competition. Your buddy may introduce you to a new activity you wouldn’t otherwise have tried, expanding your horizons for exercise options. And finally, a friend or family member can help you stay consistent, because when someone else’s time is on the table, you’ll want to make sure you show up and stay on track.
To learn more, visit The Joint Movement, hemjointmovement.com, a Sanofi website dedicated to empowering
people living with hemophilia to be more active. The Joint Movement is for people of all mobility levels and provides resources and inclusive community workshops that promote joint health. Let’s get out there and get moving!