1 in 3 rural residents has arthritis according to The Center for Disease Control. More than half of those residents has limitations in daily activities.
A survey of over 426,000 adults across the U.S. asked if they had ever been told by a doctor that they had some form of arthritis. Overall, 1 in 5 (22.7%) reported yes.
Among rural residents, however, the rate was higher at 31.8%. Authors of the study speculated that rural populations may have a higher risk because the residents tend to be:
- more obese
- have a lower income.
Rural areas also reported higher numbers of activity limitations. 56.7% or rural residents with arthritis issues admitted to lower levels of activity due to pain and mobility issues. This compares to 42% in urban areas.
A lack of sidewalks, long distances between locations and an absence of reasons to walk to destinations are possible factors in the discrepancy.
The study encouraged health-care providers in rural areas to suggest a more active lifestyle to their patients.
The safest and most productive way to accomplish this is to see a physical therapist. They can offer stretching and manual therapy treatments that will safely work out your stiffness. Then a personally tailored home exercise program will give you the tools you need to manage your condition after therapy is finished.
There are also community-based programs that offer guidance on forming arthritis social groups. These increase levels of activity among those challenged with pain and immobility:
- Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program (.pdf)
A group exercise program where participants learn safe stretching, breathing, endurance, and balance activities. Check the Arthritis Foundation class list for current locations.
- Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (.pdf)
A gentle, warm water exercise program held at local pools. The program is now supported by the Aquatic Exercise Association. Check the Arthritis Foundation class list for current locations.
- Active Living Every Day (.pdf)
A program that encourages people who are sedentary to make exercise part of daily life by developing their own individual exercise plans. Use the course locator to find a program near you.
- Enhance Fitness (.pdf)
An award-winning group exercise program that includes stretching, low-impact aerobics, and strength training. For those in states other than Washington, use the link above. Check this list of programs. If you’re located in Washington state, you can use the ProjectEnhance interactive locator tool to find a program nearby.
- Fit and Strong (.pdf)
An exercise program for people with knee or hip osteoarthritis that teaches practical exercise to help with everyday activities. Check the map of locations for a program near you.
- Walk With Ease (.pdf)
A program—done as a group or on your own—which guides you in how to start walking safely and stick with it. To find instructor-led programs in your area, call 800/283-7800 or contact the Arthritis Foundation office in your state. Self-directed course materials can be ordered from the Arthritis Foundation Online Store.
Don’t give up doing the things you love because of pain and immobility caused by arthritis! Call Body Balance Physical Therapy today and “Move More, Live More!”