Home and garden

Everyday tasks such as cleaning the house or tending to the garden can help you keep mobile. It is important to allow extra time for gentle stretching and mobilising movements to ease your muscles and joints into the day. Gardening is a great hobby for people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). It is a satisfying and rewarding way to keep physically active. It is also a great way to relieve stress, lift your mood and can be very therapeutic.

Top tips:

  • Incorporate physical activity and exercise into your daily tasks – view chores as an opportunity to be more physically active. Use aids to help you stay physically active if they are needed.
  • Set yourself achievable goals and challenges to stay motivated and rewarded.
  • Plan and prioritise your activities with rest periods, and remember to take frequent 'stretching' breaks.
  • Design your garden so it is easy to maintain, look for garden tools and gadgets that have been specially developed for people with joint problems or who have difficulty standing, bending, doing heavy work and/or have problems with their hands.
  • Try gentle exercises whilst sitting on a firm chair to work your wrists, ankles, shoulders and back. These can include flexing and stretching your feet gently, moving your hands up and down, straightening and bending your legs, or bending to the side from the waist. These are great to do whilst watching TV or reading.

This is general advice for people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs), but individuals may have specific problems. Always speak to your doctor or physiotherapist before you start a new form of exercise.

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