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Living Well with Arthritis

Arthritis is a chronic illness. While that means there's no cure it doesn't have to stop you from taking steps to control your arthritis.

Here are some tips to living well with arthritis this summer – and all year long.

Arthritis FoundationLet yourself go
Do relaxing things and take a vacation if possible. If you can't leave town, try a "staycation" and enjoy learning new things about your hometown.

Play in the dirt
You don't have to give up activities you enjoy, like gardening. And digging in the dirt can ease sore hands. Container gardening and raised flower beds help people with arthritis continue to beautify their yards all summer. Using ergonomically-designed garden tools can make tasks easier.

Play it safe in the sun
Use sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen. Besides protecting yourself from the harmful effects of the sun on the skin, be aware that some forms of arthritis – including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and lupus - and some medications – like methotrexate – can make you more sensitive to the sun.

Take a hike
Walking is an ideal exercise for people with arthritis. Check out the Arthritis Foundation's Walk with Ease program. Visit: www.arthritis.org/western-pennsylvania.

Turn the page
A good self-help book can make all the difference in coping with a chronic illness. The Arthritis Foundation has many helpful resources that make for easy summer reading. Check out www.arthritis.org.

Take the plunge
Do you enjoy swimming? Exercising in the water can build strength and increase range of motion.

Have a good laugh
Laughing relaxes muscles, relieves pain and boosts the immune system.

For more information about arthritis, Arthritis Foundation programs and services in western Pennsylvania, news about special events, how to volunteer or donate, and much more, call 1-800-245-2275, ext. 6416 or email info.pa@arthritis.org. Kelly Donahue is Communications Director, Arthritis Foundation, Great Lakes Region.

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