Exercise is a good way to reduce your chances of getting RSI. It's also important if you already have RSI symptoms, for it improves tissue circulation and helps eliminate waste products from the body. It isn't always easy to find a sport that doesn't put even more strain on your shoulders, neck, arms and hands. However, there are quite a few ways of getting good, enjoyable exercise without too much physical strain.
Walking is a safe type of exercise for people with RSI. Here are some tips:
- Rather than cycle or catch a bus, walk whenever you can.
- Swing your arms as you walk to get more blood flowing into your arms and fingers.
- Make sure your arms are free to move. If you have to carry things, put them in a bumbag or backpack.
- Try and keep up a reasonable pace.
- Make sure you have good-quality walking shoes.
- If you find walking boring, walk where there's something interesting to see, for example a botanical garden or a zoo. Walking with other people can also be a lot more fun. Join a walking club.
- See if Nordic walking appeals to you.
- Skating is an excellent type of exercise for people with RSI, as it puts no strain on the arms.
- It also improves circulation in your arms, as they can swing freely.
- If you don't yet know how to skate, start practicing calmly and safely.
- Don't take risks. Start by learning how to brake, so that you don't fall on your arms or suddenly have to grab hold of a pole.
- Important: if you can't help falling, don't hesitate to use your arms, otherwise you may bang your head hard on the ground or the ice.
- Don't use a bicycle with hand brakes.Bicycles are available with both gears and coaster (back-pedal) brakes.
- A bicycle with high handlebars, for example a standard utility ('sit-up-and-beg') model, will put less strain on your arms and hands.
- Use cycling gloves to improve your grip on the handlebars.
- Position the saddle well forward to take some of your weight off the handlebars and so reduce the strain on your shoulders. Bicycle shops have accessories to help you adjust thesaddle.
- Use winged or gel handgrips to absorb impact.
Other types of exercise that may be good for people with RSI symptoms are:
- tai chi
- cardio-fitness or medical fitness (super- vised exercise)
- step aerobics
- power yoga
- keep fit for the chronically ill
- Slender You (couch exercises)
- salsa dancing
- line dancing
- movement to music
- swimming (aqua jogging, aqua aerobics, slow lengths)
Of course, there are plenty more sports you can try. Speek with your practitioner about what you should and shouldn't do.