The summer is supposed to be all about enjoying the warm weather, having fun with friends and forgetting about that dreaded time of year when you put your white shoes back in storage. But that doesn’t mean that this season’s fun doesn’t come with its disadvantages.
It really doesn’t matter what your age is, joint pain happens to everyone. It can affect any joint in the body and can range from manageable to unbearable. Typical causes of joint pain include injury or inflammation, and while you may think that a major injury or osteoarthritis is the main sources, what you may not know is that there are things you are doing regularly that can be the triggers of your joint pain. Here’s a look at some of the things you may do this summer that can prevent you from checking off each summer activity on your list.
A switch in your exercise routine
The warmer weather is definitely a motivator to tie up those sneakers and take your dog for a walk, go for a jog or join friends for a game of volleyball. If after months of hitting the gym elliptical or treadmill, you decided to take a victory lap around the block, you may notice a little bit of soreness the next morning. Repeated pounding of the leg on the ground and/or the use of new muscles can result in muscle and joint pain, so it’s important to know your limits. If you’re already a sufferer of arthritis, however, exercise can actually be very helpful, as it strengthens the muscles around the bones and joints and can reduce inflammation; that’s why it’s important to try low-impact sports such as swimming or cycling, to reduce the force it has on your knee, ankle and hip joints.
- Joint Tip: Invest in a good pair of cushioned walking or running shoes that will give you shock absorption.
Nothing screams “summer” like a well-manicured lawn, cultivated flower beds and potted plants to add a little life to your yard. Gardening is a popular activity for many between the spring and fall months. Unfortunately, the constant motions of raking and heavy lifting and the repeated bending and kneeling can cause stress on almost every joint in your body, and can dampen the expectations you set for your yard. But that doesn’t mean you have to see your lawn turn yellow. Most don’t even realize it, but gardening can be considered a form of exercise, so make sure to stretch beforehand to minimize injury. Using ergonomic gardening tools is another great way to help reduce unnecessary bending and reaching. And of course, don’t forget to take breaks often to give your body a chance to recoup.
- Joint Tip: There are many once-a-day supplements that can help reduce inflammation causing joint pain and stiffness. Jamieson Joint Relief Joint & Bone and Jamieson Turmeric are both formulated to help reduce joint pain by reducing the body’s inflammatory response.
And by gram, we don’t mean your weight, we mean social media. It may be tempting to check your social media feed constantly during the summer to see what your friends and family are up to, or what popular activities to try out next, but looking down at your phone can cause unexpected strain on your neck and shoulders. It might not seem like such a concern of joint pain, but if you’re finding yourself rubbing your sore shoulders after a day of refreshing your news feeds, there’s a good chance that the stiffness and pain is caused by “text neck”—poor posture that comes with staring at your smartphone all day. Research shows that over time, this constant position can lead to wear and tear on the neck and spine.
Dehydration is a common underlying cause for so many ailments, including joint swelling and pain. This is because the cushioning in between the joints requires hydration to remain lubricated enough to retain the important minerals required for healthy joints and for shock absorption. Lack of water can lessen the body’s ability to do this, leading to stiff and achy joints. Additionally, with the summer heat and many of the drinks consumed during this time of year such as iced coffee and alcoholic beverages which are diuretics and increases the risk of dehydration. As a general rule, most adults need six to eight glasses of water a day. But don’t get too caught up on the number of glasses you’re drinking every day. Instead, try these warm weather tips to keep your body refreshed and hydrated throughout the day.
- Joint Tip: The added trace minerals in water have all been shown to have multiple benefits to the body aside from bone and joint health; this includes improving sleep, improving skin health and detoxification.
Soft serve ice cream is the epitome of cooling down on a hot summer’s day. But, whatever summer treat is your guilty pleasure, just remember that certain foods, ahem…processed, refined, sugary, fried AND dairy products, can increase inflammatory response in your body. You might find that despite your good physical health and hydration levels, after eating certain foods you might feel a little stiffer than normal. Since Canadian summers are short, you can definitely enjoy these foods, but moderation is key. It’s also important to make sure you maintain a healthy balance of anti-inflammatory foods and healthy fats to help counter the inflammation caused by your favourite summer foods. You can also check out our healthy hacks to some of your favourite summer foods here.