Ah summer. The balmy temps and sunshine nourish the soul. The body, not so much. In fact, to the question of whether hot weather actually makes arthritis worse, experts will answer with a resounding yes. The culprits, they say, are heat and humidity which can exacerbate joint pain and swelling. Barometric pressure changes may also be a factor.
Though Mother Nature is a formidable foe, we humans are resourceful too. Here are a few tips to counteract her summer assault on our joints and help keep arthritis in hot weather at bay.
Drink, Drink, Drink!
Hydrating in the heat is essential for general health and wellbeing and particularly critical to arthritis management. Water helps keep cartilage soft and supple and promotes healthy blood volume which facilitates the movement of nutrients into your joints. Be sure to pay close attention to daily fluid intake, especially if you are outdoors. Remember, tea, coffee – and alcohol - actually impede hydration, so try to stick to water during the heat of the day.
Enhance your summer diet with water rich fruits and veggies like:
Keep It Moving
When it comes to exercises to help arthritis the rule is simple: Any movement is better than none. If you haven’t exercised since, well…the Beatles’ invasion, take it slow and gradually build up strength and endurance. Even a gentle 10-minute walk will be beneficial to joints and help manage pain. Keep things moving with other low or no impact exercises like a stationary bike, water aerobics, yoga, or tai chi that will get the blood flowing and help relieve joint stiffness. Once you are happily home after a refreshing swim or enjoyable walk with friends, remember to avoid sitting in one position for extended periods. Stand up at least once an hour to stretch your legs.
Know Your Limitations
Before embarking on any new exercise regimen, check in with your doctor to make sure your activity of choice is right for you. Have confidence in your abilities but stay within boundaries safe for your particular body. The goal is twofold: Find exercise that is good for arthritis and avoid injury.
Walk Past the Ice Cream Truck
Weight management will definitely contribute to the success of your summer arthritis strategy. Losing even a few pounds can help reduce stress on weight-bearing joints like knees and hips. Don’t panic. There is no need for a total austerity plan. But, do cut down on sugary treats, which add pounds and fuel arthritis symptoms. You might want to check out a Mediterranean-style diet to decrease the inflammation that impacts joint pain.
Hit the Pharmacy
There are lots of over-the-counter meds that help ease arthritis pain. The key is to take them responsibly and not overdo it. Check with your doctor before starting anything new to make sure it is right for you.
Live in a Supportive Community
What could be more uplifting than enjoying summer activities in a warm and welcoming environment filled with like-minded peers? Your aches and pains will melt away as you make new friends who will keep you busy and active. Book a tour at the Overture premier active adult community of your choice today.
Lace up. Your walking group is waiting.