Just because you have joint pain doesn’t mean you have to sit on the sidelines during the warmer, sunnier months of summer. In fact, some degree of activity is good for your joints, even ones affected by arthritis, age-related wear, or sports-related injuries. Below are five summer activities that can be easy on your joints and beneficial for them at the same time.
1. Walking Tours
If you plan to travel during the summer go on a casual walking tour – you can also do this right in your own hometown! Walking is a great way to get exercise in a way that’s done at a pace that’s comfortable for you. Cardiovascular exercises like walking also facilitate the production of endorphins, “feel good” hormones that act as your body’s own natural painkillers.
2. Water-Based Activities
The natural buoyancy of water takes pressure off aching or inflamed joints. The soothing power of water also allows you to sufficiently move your joints and target core, joint-supporting muscle groups in a way that helps maintain or increase flexibility and range of motion. Some of the possibilities with water-based activities in the summer include:
• Swimming in a backyard or public pool
• Water-based rides at theme or water parks
• Water aerobics classes in heated pools
3. Fruit and Veggie Picking
Summer is the perfect time to go on the hunt for fresh fruits and veggies at local farmers’ markets. In addition to working out your joints in a gentle, relaxed way, you’ll be selecting nutrient-rich veggies and fruits that can help ease the inflammation that can make joint pain more distracting.
Yoga is an excellent way to relieve the stress and anxiety that sometimes contributes to joint swelling and irritation. While yoga can be enjoyed any time of year, summertime is when you’ll be more likely to find outdoor classes that can be even more relaxing. But let the instructor know if you have joint issues so appropriate poses can be recommended for you.
5. Joint-Friendly Sports
Yes, you’ll want to avoid contact sports if you have existing joint problems. However, there are plenty of other summer sports that can help you increase your flexibility, balance, and strength without boosting your risk of sustaining a fracture or triggering joint pain. Golf, for example, is easy on joints if you are mindful of your form. Joint-friendly sports also include:
Summer activities can also help you maintain your weight or shed unwanted pounds that tend to place extra stress on joints. Just remember to bring plenty of water with you whenever you get active in the summer. Hydration helps keep joints mobile while also boosting the flow of healthy nutrients your joints and their supporting tissues need.