Arthritis is no fun. It can make even the simplest tasks difficult and painful. But there’s no reason why you can’t still enjoy a summer full of activities if you have arthritis—as long as you take some precautions and plan. Here are some tips for managing arthritis in summer:
Hydration Is Key
When it comes to managing arthritis this summer, hydration is vital. Many people with arthritis can experience joint pain and stiffness when dehydrated.
When you’re active: drink fluids before, during, and after exercise. For example, a large glass of water before you exercise will help reduce the risk of injury or muscle cramps by ensuring your joints are well-hydrated. After working out, replace lost fluids by drinking about 500ml of liquid every 15 minutes until your urine is clear again (this usually takes about 1 hour). If you have pain that doesn’t go away after exercising or playing sports, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
The sun’s ultraviolet can cause skin damage, including premature wrinkles and skin cancer. Not to mention that the heat of summer makes it harder to endure in a long sleeve shirt or pants! However, there are a few ways you can keep your body protected from these harmful rays:
- Wear sunscreen every day. Apply at least one ounce of sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher for at least 30 minutes before going outside, even if it’s overcast or raining. Reapply every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating heavily. It may take trial and error to determine what type works best for your skin type. Sunscreen is available in ointment formulas, lotions, or creams that feel lighter on your face and hands than traditional sunscreens.
- Wear sunglasses with UV protection whenever you’re outside—no matter what day! The lenses should block UVA and UVB light to protect against long-term damage from the sun’s rays. Consider getting prescription sunglasses if your eyesight has changed since having LASIK surgery; many people believe their vision benefits greatly from wearing these types of eyewear because they provide clearer vision without any distortion due to their specialized shape around each eye socket area (they also prevent glare).
Wear loose and comfortable clothes. Tight, restrictive clothing can make you feel stiff and uncomfortable. Avoid anything with buttons or zippers that can be a pain to get on or off. Likewise, avoid clothes that rub against your skin, such as tight jeans or shirts. And don’t forget about socks! Even if it’s hot out, keep your feet covered with ankle-high cotton socks to avoid blisters during your summer activities.
Of course, if you prefer wearing more fitted clothing because they look nice on you, go ahead and wear them! Just make sure they’re not too tight in places where they might restrict movement—like around the waistline or in the arms of long-sleeved shirts—and that there are no seams rubbing against sensitive areas like knees or elbows (especially important for those with rheumatoid arthritis).
Consult Your Physician
Arthritis can be debilitating. It’s important to consult your doctor about how to manage it, especially if you find that the symptoms are getting worse during certain seasons.
Depending on the type of arthritis, there may be medications that can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation, as well as lifestyle changes that may help ease discomfort.
Your doctor will also be able to tell you whether any special precautions should be taken in order to prevent further damage from occurring, such as avoiding activities that put pressure on sensitive joints (like golfing) or staying out of hot tubs when they’re filled with water temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).
Remember that managing your arthritis doesn’t have to be a chore. Whether incorporating some of these tips into your daily routine or taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves, this summer can be an exciting time for you! Just remember that arthritis does not have to stop you from trying new things and having fun!