Active stories: Janet Friedlander

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Janet Friedlander is 72 years old and lives in Cricklewood, North London. Around seven years ago Janet’s leg swelled up and she was diagnosed with arthritis.

Her diagnosis spurred her on to be more active and she says that she is now more physically active in retirement than she has been in her whole life.

Once I was diagnosed with wear and tear in my knee joints I was advised not to walk up hills to much but I saw a local Nordic walking class advertised in my paper and haven’t looked back.

'Over time I started to tackle hillier routes and I can now go out with my original walking group. The group goes out once a month but recently I’ve been doing parts of the capital ring each week with a fellow Nordic walking friend. 

I also do yoga and Pilates a couple of times a week and resistance exercises with weights after the GP pointed out that it would be beneficial for my arthritis.

I’ve also lived with another condition throughout my whole life which causes involuntary movement in the eyes which can affect my balance but being generally more active and the Nordic walking gives me more stability and my legs are much stronger as a result. My physiotherapist gave me exercises to do to build up strength in my legs as they have got to be a lot stronger so I don’t rely on using my knees as much.

As you get older you have to do more work to keep your body supple and working to the best of its ability. Whilst I know I am getting older, with all the physical activity I do, I don’t feel my age at all. I can now walk 10 miles and it doesn’t faze me at all.

I would encourage anyone with arthritis to make a start even if it’s just walking down the road and seek out a physiotherapist who can help you build up your strength; there is no quick solution but if you stick at it you will feel incredible.’