Why San Diego is a Good Place to Live with Arthritis

An estimated 54.4 million US adults suffer from arthritis. Although location cannot cure arthritis, there are many ways in which living in San Diego can aid your treatment and ease the grueling impact of this painful disease. From year-round pleasant weather to fitness classes to biking trails, there are a variety of opportunities to live an enjoyable lifestyle while managing arthritis in San Diego.

Here are 5 reasons why San Diego is a good place to live with arthritis:


1. Weather

San Diego’s year-round mild climate and low humidity can aid in improving your comfort levels if you live with arthritis. It’s said that warmer conditions can help with managing arthritis-related pain, inflammation, and discomfort levels. In fact, a study published in Rheumatology International found that rheumatoid arthritis disease activity was significantly lower in both sunnier and less humid conditions.

2. Fitness Classes

It’s recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that individuals who suffer from arthritis partake in low-impact activities performed at a moderate pace at least five times a week. From water exercise classes  to tai chi, San Diego offers a variety of arthritis-friendly classes. Not only will these exercises help you stay active; they will also help increase endurance, improve balance and flexibility, and prevent future accidents.


3. Bike Trails

One of the exercises that the CDC recommends for people who live with arthritis is bicycling. Bicycling is considered a moderate intensity aerobic activity that is easy on joints and improves endurance.  Luckily, San Diego is home to a variety of flat bike trails accompanied with great views to make your ride enjoyable. Here are our favorite bike trails to help you stay active:

  • Mission Bay Bike Path
  • The Bayshore Bikeway
  • Carlsbad Coastal Rail Trail
  • Solana Beach Coastal Rail Trail

Before heading out, check out our biking safety tips which can help maximize your experience!


4. Walking Trails

Walking can help relieve arthritis pain and stiffness, giving you more energy and improving your mood. Walking is considered a moderate intensity aerobic activity and over time will increase your endurance and strength. There are plenty of paved paths throughout the county that make it easy to hit your daily step quota, including:

  • Mission Bay Park
  • Torrey Pines State Reserve
  • Liberty Station
  • Shelter Island

When choosing your favorite walking trail, avoid paths that are obstructed with lifted or missing pavement.


5. Programs

There are many programs offered throughout San Diego County that encourage an active and social lifestyle and help improve quality of life for individuals who live with arthritis.

  • The City of San Diego’s Senior Citizen Services offers a variety of activities for older adults, including, dances, trips, sports, and crafts. This program promotes creativity and exercise amongst seniors.
  • The Senior Lounge at Balboa Park is a great opportunity to spark imagination through arts and crafts, monthly poetry parties, and the Balboa Park walk. These activities are available seven days a week.
  • The Arthritis Foundation is dedicated to changing lives in local communities throughout the US. This organization offers a variety of activities and fundraisers throughout the year, committed to raising awareness and reducing the impact of the painful disease.


Quick Tips:

It may seem like it’s impossible to maintain an active lifestyle while managing arthritis, however, with practice and smart choices, it’s possible for almost every adult. At first, you may experience an increase in pain, stiffness, and swelling, which is normal when starting a new routine. According to the CDC, an easy way to remember these tips: Make S.M.A.R.T. choices.

  • Start low, and go slow. It’s important to start any new exercise routine slowly, especially when you have arthritis. Healthy children can increase their activity a little each week, while older adults may take 3-4 weeks. Listen to your body and increase activity when your body is ready.
  • Modify activity. If your arthritis symptoms flare up, it’s important that you modify your activity. However, if symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and fatigue increase, you may want to consider stopping activity until you consult with your doctor.
  • Activities should be “joint friendly.” Activities such as walking, biking, water aerobics, and dancing have a low risk of injury and do not put too much pressure on your joints.
  • Recognize safe places and ways to be active. Find safe places to exercise where the sidewalks and paths are free of obstructions, are well lit and away from heavy traffic.
  • Talk to a health professional. You should have a healthcare professional that you go to for any arthritis related questions. They will be able to match what type of activity and health goals.


San Diego not only offers arthritis-friendly weather, it’s also home to walking paths, bike trails and programs that help individuals suffering from arthritis live an enjoyable life.  Before starting a new exercise routine, talk with your Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups doctor.


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