As the temperatures begin to drop and the leaves change colors, many of us look forward to the beauty and coziness of fall. But for individuals with arthritis, the cooler weather can bring about increased joint pain and stiffness. Even in Arizona where temperatures are moderate, changes in temperature are known to trigger arthritis flares in some individuals.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the season has to offer. In Phoenix, where the fall season is a bit more forgiving than in other parts of the country, there are plenty of arthritis-friendly activities to enjoy. Read on for 5 arthritis-friendly fall activities you can enjoy around Phoenix, Arizona.
1. Arthritis-Friendly Desert Hikes
Phoenix is renowned for its stunning desert landscapes, and fall is the perfect time to explore them. While hiking might not be the first activity that comes to mind for arthritis sufferers, there are plenty of gentle, flat, and well-maintained trails in and around the area that are suitable for people with joint issues.
Look for trails with minimal elevation changes and gentle terrain, as these are less stressful on the joints. Some trails have benches along the way, allowing you to take breaks and enjoy the scenery without overexerting yourself. Remember to wear supportive footwear, bring plenty of water, and consider using hiking poles for added support.
Check out some of these easy fall hiking trails near Phoenix, AZ:
- Judith Tunnell Accessible Trail—South Mountain Park
- Hole in the Rock Trail—Papago Park
- Wild Burro Hiking Trail—Lake Pleasant
- Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail—Desert Botanical Gardens
- Wagner Short Loop Trail—McDowell Mountain Regional Park
2. Tai Chi or Yoga in the Park
Tai Chi is a low-impact exercise that can be a great option for individuals with arthritis. This ancient Chinese martial art combines slow movements with deep breathing and mindfulness. Practicing Tai Chi can improve your balance, flexibility, and range of motion, all while being gentle on your joints.
Similarly, yoga is another excellent option for arthritis sufferers. Yoga focuses on stretching, flexibility, and relaxation, and may help alleviate joint pain and stiffness. With its wide variety of poses and modifications, yoga can be adapted to suit most fitness levels and mobility constraints.
Many community centers and parks in Phoenix offer Tai Chi and yoga classes for beginners. These sessions typically take place in serene outdoor settings, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the season.
Here are a few programs to give a try:
- Taylor Wray Yoga—Yoga in the Park at Roadrunner Park
- Tai Chi at the Park—Sereno Park
- October Yoga at the Park—Sereno Park
- FitPHX Morning Yoga—Encanto Park Clubhouse
3. Arizona Thermal Springs for Arthritis
If you’re looking for a truly relaxing and therapeutic experience, consider visiting one of the natural thermal springs in the Phoenix area. The warm water can provide relief for arthritis pain and muscle tension, making it an excellent choice for a relaxing fall getaway.
Check out local resorts or day spas that offer access to thermal springs. Some places even offer hydrotherapy sessions or massages in warm mineral-rich waters, which can be incredibly soothing for arthritis sufferers.
Take a look at some of these resorts and hot springs locations:
4. Art Classes
Fall is a fantastic time to tap into your creative side. Artistic activities like painting, pottery, or crafting can be both relaxing and arthritis-friendly. Activities like painting, drawing, or pottery are typically gentle on the hands and joints, and allow yourself to express your creativity.
Consider taking a pottery class at a local studio or joining a painting workshop. The act of creating something beautiful can be therapeutic and distracting from any pain you might be experiencing. Plus, you’ll have a special memento to take home with you.
Looking for some art classes in your area?
- Shemer Art Center Adult Classes
- Phoenix Center for the Arts (ceramics, glass, jewelry, metals, and more)
- Pip Coffee + Clay Pottery
- Art on Fire Studio
5. Scenic Drives and Picnics
Sometimes, the best way to enjoy the fall season is by simply taking in the views. Phoenix and the surrounding areas offer some breathtaking drives that showcase the desert’s beauty as it transitions into autumn.
Drive along Apache Trail or the Desert Foothills Scenic Drive and stop at designated viewpoints to admire the landscape. Pack a picnic basket and find a comfortable spot to enjoy your meal in the great outdoors.
Remember to bring along some comfortable cushions or outdoor chairs to support your joints if you plan on picnicking. Taking in the fresh air and picturesque views can be incredibly relaxing and enjoyable, all without putting unnecessary strain on your joints.
Scenic Arizona Drives:
- Payson and Mogollon Rim—90 miles
- North Rim Parkway –43 miles
- Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon—116 miles
Remember, it’s essential to listen to your body and consult with a rheumatologist or healthcare professional to ensure that any activity you choose is suitable for your specific condition. They can provide personalized guidance and recommend exercises and strategies to help you make the most of the season while safeguarding your joint health.
So, go ahead and savor the beauty of Phoenix in the fall. With the right activities and precautions, you can make this season one to remember.
Are you interested in how you can better manage your arthritis symptoms? Whether you have been recently diagnosed with arthritis or have been living with the condition, our team of Phoenix rheumatology specialists can help you develop a personalized plan to live your best life with arthritis.
To schedule an appointment, give us a call at (480) 494-2770 or send us a message.