Achy joints can put a damper on your favorite pastimes. And giving up these activities can leave you feeling disengaged and bored. But you don’t have to give up your passions – you just have to adapt.
Acknowledge your feelings and grieve the loss of doing things the way you once did. Just don’t get stuck there.
To get unstuck, work with a physical therapist or occupational therapist to find ways to adapt your passion so you can still do it in a modified way. You can also find an activity with similar underlying appeal. If you bowled, for example, on a deeper level you may actually crave the social connection – so you can find another social activity.
Use Your Exercise Solution to find modifications for your favorite sports. Or consider re-engaging in new pursuits to satisfy your inner urges.
Camaraderie and competition
Former activity: Bowling, tennis, golf
Modifications: Hold onto the ball with two hands instead of using the finger holes; play doubles tennis using the singles lines and allow double bounces; use a cart and play 9 holes.
New pursuit: Game night. Invite friends over for a weekly game of Nintendo Wii tennis, golf, baseball or boxing. If you don’t have a Wii, hold backgammon, Scrabble, chess or bridge tournaments.
Former activity: Drawing, pottery, sculpture, woodworking
Modifications: Use build-ups or grips on your tools; work sitting down; take frequent breaks.
New pursuit: Art appreciation. Visit museums and galleries to study the masterpieces of favorite painters or wood artists. Volunteer at a local art fair or support the work of a local budding artist.
Former activity: Running, weight lifting, track-and-field, skiing
Modifications: Shorten your stride, run on softer surfaces, reduce distance; use machines, do box squats;
New Pursuit: Refereeing or coaching. Become a certified technical official for weightlifting or power lifting or track & field events. Become a coach or volunteer at your local track club events.
Former activity: Gardening
Modification: Garden in containers and raised beds
New pursuit: Sponsor a school or community garden. Volunteer at an arboretum or botanical garden. Or broaden your knowledge by becoming a master gardener through your state or county extension service.
Former activity: Hiking, rock-climbing
Modifications: shorter, less challenging hikes; trekking poles
New pursuit: Drive to short, accessible paths to waterfalls, mountain views and scenic canyons. In a few steps you can immerse yourself in the natural world. Alternatively, you could rent a fully-equipped camper and stay overnight in state or national park.
Former activity: Globe-trotting
Modification: bus tours instead of walking tours; plan ahead for getting around in airports; include rest days in your itinerary
New pursuit: Travel vicariously with Couch Surfers (www.couchsurfing.org). This worldwide network lets you host visitors from around the world (and vice versa). You’ll learn about the world’s far-flung places from people who live there.
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