Does your arthritis react to the weather?
Quite often you'll hear people who have arthritis mention that cold and damp weather adversely affects their joints causing increased pain and stiffness.
Interestingly, despite a number of scientific studies, there's still no clear proof that the weather is responsible.
What we do know is that dehydration - often experienced in the heat of summer - does make joint pain worse.
If you're heading off on holiday to warmer climes or want to be better prepared for hot days at home, our tips will help you stay healthy and active when the mercury rises.
Drink Lots Of Water
When Flexiseq spoke to nutritionist Kamilla Schaffner she stressed the importance of staying hydrated. In hot weather, when you’re more likely to sweat, you need to up your liquid intake. It’s important because water stimulates the production of synovial fluid which the body uses to lubricate joints and it also helps to flush toxins out of the body which helps fight inflammation. Less liquid, less synovial fluid, more joint pain. Why not carry a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go to ensure you’re always optimally hydrated.
As soon as the sun comes out, parks and beer gardens across the land fill up with revellers thirsty for a tipple of something refreshing. While indulging in an afternoon beer or glass of wine is very tempting, it’s worth remembering that alcohol is a diuretic. Increased urination plays a big part in causing dehydration, so make sure you either drink lots of water between pints or abscond altogether. The acidity of booze can also trigger inflammation, which if you’re living with joint pain isn’t ideal.
Take A Swim
Want to stay active when it’s hot but worried about overdoing it? Why not consider swimming. Not only is it a brilliant low-impact form of exercising your joints, you also don’t have to worry about overheating. You may not have your own pool, but there are plenty of lidos and swimming centres across the UK offering access at very reasonable prices.
If you’re anything like us, as soon as the sun comes out you invite your friends and family over for a barbeque. All those sausages and burgers, they taste great but they are also very high in saturated fat, which can make any inflammation in the body worse. Why not try healthier alternatives like chicken and Omega-3 rich oily fish and choose salads and grains over carb-heavy bread rolls.
Dress For The Occasion
It might seem obvious but when it’s hot out you need to make sure you’re not wearing your winter coat. But try to bear in mind your joints as well. Loose-fitting, natural fibre or linen clothes are perfect for letting your body breathe and they won’t constrict your joints meaning you can move more freely.
It might feel like the whole country is basking in the sunshine, but sometimes you have to give yourself a breather. If the heat gets too much, there’s no shame in staying indoors and taking it easy. Drawing the curtains and investing in a fan or air conditioning to regulate room temperature can also be useful, especially at night when you’re trying to get some much needed sleep.
Time Exercise Just Right
It’s important to always keep moving when you have arthritis. It might be hot outside but you should find ways of staying active where possible. Swimming is one way but another is a gentle walk to keep the joints moving. It can get very hot in the middle of the day, a relaxing stroll early in the morning or late in the evening can be lovely at this time of year.