Summer is here and many of us are tuning up our bikes and digging out our running shoes from the back of our closets. But if you’re someone who suffers from joint issues, the warmer months can bring more pain than pleasure if you’re not mindful of how to manage your pain.
That’s because some of the most common causes of joint pain, including arthritis, are heightened by hot and humid weather. The culprit is barometric or atmospheric pressure. Air humidity lowers barometric pressure, so there is less air pressure pushing against your body, allowing joint tissue to expand. And that can hurt!
But it doesn’t mean you should ditch outdoor exercise, gardening, or any of the other physical activities you love if your shoulders or knees are achy. It just means that during the dog days of summer, you need to take extra precautions to protect your joints and keep pain at bay. Here are five things you can do:
- Ease into your fitness routine. This is universal advice, regardless of the season andwhether you’re a joint pain sufferer or not. You risk injuring yourself if you accelerate from 1-100 too quickly. Start slow and increase the time and intensity of your activity gradually.Don’t forget that even elite athletes take days off so their bodies can recharge.
- Opt for low-impact exercise. Think swimming and biking – two of summer’s greatest pleasures –, rather than running and tennis.
- Be aware of the humidity. You may want to schedule one of those rest days when the humidity is soaring. If you don’t want to stay indoors, consider exercising early or late in the day, when the temperature is cooler.
- Cushion and protect your joints when possible. If you’re sitting for long periods of time on the beach, bring a pillow to provide padding for your hips. Gardening knee pads or a kneeling cushion can be your best friend when tending your blooms. Braces can also provide needed support and prevent injury.
- Make sure you’re drinking enough. Dehydration is a contributor to joint pain, so drink plenty of water. Staying well-hydrated lubricates your cartilage. Did you know that between 70-80% of cartilage is water?
Joint pain doesn’t have to limit your summer fun. With some adaptations and a generous dose of common sense, you’ll be enjoying all the things you have always loved about summer.
If you still are unsure about what activities are right for you, you can find a doctor in your area to consult with by clicking here.