Be Blue This Month

May is a month of health awareness, from mental health (which I’ll be featuring next week) to arthritis to National Stuttering Awareness Week this week.

While we’re fighting the blues for national mental health awareness month, the Arthritis National Research Foundation is asking people to Go Blue for Arthritis Awareness Month and wear blue clothing the whole month to get people to talk about arthritis. You can upload photos of yourself wearing blue at their Facebook page and can win a water bottle or autographed hat from professional golfer Kristy McPherson.

I’m choosing today to talk about arthritis because it affects so many people, 50 million according to the Arthritis Foundation.  That’s one in five, making it the nation’s most common cause of disability.

There’s an old joke that an elderly lady told her pastor that she sees three men each day—Will Power to get her up in the morning, Arthur Itis with whom she goes from to joint to joint and Ben Gay to finish off her day. 

But it’s not only the elderly that get arthritis and the Arthritis Foundation’s Juvenile Arthritis Conference is coming up in July. Actually, about two thirds of people who have arthritis are under 65.

The Arthritis Foundation has put together an A to Z list of things you can do for Arthritis Action Month from advocating to uploading pictures of how you’ve taken action to change the course of arthritis.

If you want to sweat for arthritis research, you can try the Arthritis Walks throughout the year, the Jingle Bell Runs in December, or even train to walk or run a marathon or half marathon through Joints in Motion.  I’ve run a Jingle Bell Run myself and it’s a great way to get some exercise and help the cause.

In October, the Arthritis Foundation sponsors Bone Bashes, or Halloween themed parties, to raise money for research. You can also find other Arthritis Foundation fundraising events here.

This year is the first World Autoimmune Arthritis Day (WAAD) next Sunday, on May 20th, 2012.  It’s a 47 hour virtual convention, featuring presentations, chat sessions, a resource room and more. Registration is free at the event site and there’s a YouTube video about it with contact information, too.  Since I saw the video, I can’t get the Twisted Sister song out of my head “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

That’s the attitude to have when it comes to arthritis, because studies have shown that physical activity is important in reducing pain and improving the quality of life for people with arthritis.  With arthritis, you've got to fight back for your quality of life.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention suggests doing 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week  plus muscle strengthening exercises for two or more days per week and balance exercises for three days per week if at risk of falling. The CDC also offers other great information on arthritis.

So this is the month to learn something new about arthritis, wear some blue and maybe share what you learned with someone else.  I learned a lot putting this blog together and feel better knowing I helped raise money for such an important cause when I did the Jingle Bell Run.  

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