6 Helpful Tips for Enjoying Summer with RA

I live in the Northeast and I wait all year long for summer to come. I like to take walks, garden, and enjoy various outdoor activities.

However, through the years, I have learned some helpful hints that anyone could apply to their life. Don’t let the weather prevent you from doing the activities that you love. Adapt and work around it.

6 tips for enjoying summer with RA

Humidity

For myself and many others with RA, humidity is not friendly to our bodies. So, on the days where the humidity level is high, I limit my exposure outside and stay in a cool place. When I expose myself to weather conditions that are high in the humidity level, I find my RA symptoms such as joint pain, stiffness, and swelling are triggered.

This potentially happens because the temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure can change the level of fluid that fills your joints resulting in swelling and pain in your joints. The change in your body fluid can also cause your joints, ligaments, and muscles to feel stiff.

Weather and time of day

I strategically plan my summer activities to consider the amount of sun and heat I will expose my body to. I try to plan outdoor activities like gardening or enjoying a walk for either early morning or late afternoon/evening.

This limits the amount of exposure my body has to the direct sunlight. Some of my medications make me hypersensitive to the heat and sun. So always keep in mind the possible side effects of sun exposure, with any medications taken.

Hydrate and proper nutrition

When you are outdoors and exposed to the elements, it is of extra importance that you stay hydrated with water. Limit the amount of sugary drinks and caffeine you drink.  Stay hydrated to prevent dehydration.

You might also drink water with electrolytes in it. This will help maintain your body's electrolyte level. It is also important to ingest healthy foods high in protein and low in sugar. Keep yourself energized with proper snacks.

Weather-appropriate clothing

It is extremely important to protect your body from the sun rays as much as possible. It is important to wear loose clothes in the heat that are made from a breathable fabric, such as linen. The use of a hat and sunglasses to protect your body from UV rays is also recommended.

They also make clothing that has fabric with SPF coating on it. Also, always remember to apply sunscreen to exposed body parts of an SPF of 30 or higher. The general rule is to reapply the sunscreen every two hours.

Rest breaks

It is extremely important during your outdoor activities to take frequent rest breaks. If participating in an exercise that is stressful to your joints, remember to take a break before you start experiencing joint pain.

Take a dip in the pool

Water activities always feel great to my body. One of the few places that my body feels “normal” and free. Swimming is a low impact activity for your joints. The buoyancy of the water helps to take pressure off your joints. This often leads to a feeling of joint relief for me when I am in the water and swimming.

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