Canadian summers are extraordinary. With long sunny days and the chance to be outdoors, the country transforms and Canadians come alive! Unfortunately, the heat creates humidity that can aggravate inflammation and produce a constant feeling of discomfort. This is the reality for people suffering from chronic pain, such as osteoarthritis and arthritis.
At Clinique Duval, we want to give all our patients the tools they need, not only to care for their joints, but also to live life to the fullest. We know that for many people, a sense of fulfillment comes from being with loved ones, exploring the outdoors and not being confined to a chair or bed. So here are a few tips for managing your joint pain and having a memorable, exciting summer!
1- Water is your friend
The first step to managing pain and becoming more active is to stay hydrated. Drinking more water may seem obvious, but most people don’t drink enough. Since joint cartilage is 60% water, it’s important to stay well hydrated. Happy cartilage means less pain and greater range of motion!
It’s recommended to drink between 8 and 10 cups of water a day, so always try to bring a reusable bottle. You should also avoid consuming things that cause dehydration, such as alcohol, coffee, salty foods, and sugary drinks. They taste good, but they’re not conducive to healthy joints, so consume them in moderation!
2- Avoid overheating, stay cool!
Heat and humidity can aggravate inflammation and joint pain. If possible, try to stay in air-conditioned environments. If you don’t have air conditioning at home, create air flow with fans to remove stale, humid air from your home and keep it at a more pleasant temperature.
If you want to go for a walk, head for wooded areas and avoid the midday heat. If you want to lie down in a sunny spot, bring an umbrella and stay close to a place where you can cool off quickly, such as a lake or swimming pool. Getting fresh air is important for peace of mind but remember to take your body temperature into account.
3- Warm up and get ready
We often hear that preparation is essential. This is especially true when you want to jump into physical activities. The most important thing you can do to minimize pain and avoid injury is to prepare your body properly.
Start by warming up your joints. Do light aerobic exercises and slow, deep stretches until you feel your joints have softened. Be sure to splint the joints most susceptible to injury and avoid putting weight on them or moving them at unusual angles. Be prepared to take plenty of breaks, and don’t hesitate to warn your companions that you need to slow down and withdraw from the activity occasionally. If you feel pain, don’t push yourself! Listen to your body and be aware of your limits.
4- Fun in the sun: recommended activities
Go for a walk! This is fantastic exercise, as running or jogging can be damaging when you experience knee or hip pain. Walking is an equally beneficial source of exercise, while minimizing pain. Make sure you wear good shoes, have someone or a walking stick to support you, and use trails with earth or grass to soften the impact of your steps. Whether you walk slowly or quickly, your blood will circulate, and you’ll get fresh air.
A calm lake or pool is the best environment for fun activities and for your health. The water provides good support for your joints, softening impact so you can swim to your heart’s content without fear of injury. Water aerobics is also a fantastic way to improve strength and bone health.
Other activities to consider are golf, canoeing, bowling, gardening, yoga and many other leisure activities!
Enjoy your summer!
Joint pain can make life more difficult, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. While chronic pain shouldn’t be taken lightly, there are many ways to help your situation and find ways to beat the heat. If you stay hydrated, stay cool, warm your muscles, and engage in low-impact activities, chances are you’ll find yourself at the end of summer feeling healthier and full of new memories to cherish.
Clinique Duval is the Canadian benchmark for private hip and knee joint replacement. If you’re experiencing joint pain and would like to consult a physician, don’t hesitate to contact Clinique Duval for a prompt appointment.