Did you know September is national Arthritis Awareness Month in Canada? Over five million people in Canada have been diagnosed with arthritis, and two of every three diagnosed are women! Those living with the disease face a life of daily pain and disability, making it difficult to enjoy even the simple pleasures in life – like quilting.
That being said, it is possible that you can continue to enjoy your hobby of quilting no matter what type of arthritis you may have – and there are over 100 different types! You just have to find your own way to make it work for you.
Here are seven helpful tips to make quilting easier on you and your joints if you have arthritis:
• Don’t stop quilting. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you can continue to enjoy your hobby. In fact, quilting may help to increase flexibility and prevent joint stiffness.
• Don’t quilt for too long. Set a time limit for yourself for the day and be sure to take plenty of breaks where you get up and move around.
• Warm up. Yes, just like exercising, it’s a good idea to loosen your joints and muscles before you get down to business.
• Cool down. Again, as you would with any other physical exercise, you should take a moment to stretch any stiff or tight joints and muscles at the end of your quilting session.
• Use Adaptive Aids. There are many tools and notions that make quilting easier for everyone, not just those with arthritis. Visit your local quilt shop, or shop online to find products that will reduce the strain and pain.
• Go Social. Ask a friend over to help you with cutting or quilting. Not only are you getting work done without strain on your joints, but the social aspect will improve your mental and emotional health as well!
• The most important thing is, listen to your body. If it hurts, stop! In fact, stop before it hurts. Don’t overdo it. Quilting should continue to be an enjoyable experience for you.
For more information and resources on living with arthritis, please visit the Arthritis Society of Canada’s website at www.arthritis.ca.