The Importance of Activity

Girls playing at the pool

Everyone knows how important it is to stay physically fit and lead an active life. Everywhere you turn, we are being reminded to get out and get active, young and old alike.

The First Lady lauched a campaign to get families moving.

The NFL reminds us that kids need to “Play 60” and promotes their initiative through tv commercials and their own facebook page.
Kids need activity to thrive and be healthy. Even outside of the USA, the conclusion is identical. Halfway around the world, the Aussies are telling their citizens the same thing. Stay active if you want to stay healthy.
A simple internet search will confirm that physical activity is a proven component of maintaining good health, but what about for kids with JA? The answer may not be quite as simple, but the benefits are indesputable.
During a flare, or an acute episode of inflammation from JA, participating in any physical activity may be the last thing your child is ready to do. As a parent, you must help them find the balance between what they should do, and what they want to do. This can actually work both ways.
For some children, JA is a painful inconvenience, that keeps them from doing the things they want to do. Against doctors order, or your better judgement as a parent, they will push to stay too active, not recognizing their bodies’ limits. This can cause a flare to worsen, or even cause injury.
On the flip side, some children will resist any type of activity during a flare (or in anticipation of one,) either because it is truly too painful, or because the are apprehensive about how it will make them feel later.
Of course, neither scenario is ideal. The Arthritis Foundation and Arthritis Today have some excellent articles that help parents understand how important physical activity can be, while providing insight specific to the challenges faced by JA families. Some of our favorites include: “The Importance of Excercise in Kids With Arthritis”, and “Let’s Play Ball.” Even children who are unable to play sports or  with their peers can benefit from activity modified for their abilities, as illustated in “What Role Do PT and OT Play in Managing JA?” or by participating in low impact activities like swimming.

For more information on helping kids with JA stay physically active, visit the LEAP website, and keep your kids moving!

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  1. Jennifer Wilson says:

    We’ve been enjoying your posts and sharing on our FB page. That’s Cassie in the video clip – along with some of her amazing friends. We’re a Vancouver-based non-profit fundraising solely for Juvenile Arthritis and other childhood Rheumatic Diseases. We support families through an emergency fund, equipment loan cupboard and educational events and we support medical research, advocacy and awareness as well. Love seeing all the dedication of the JA community when it comes to helping the amazing kids who deal with JA every day!

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