Beach Days Are Still Possible with RA: 5 Tips & Tools to Help You Prepare
I remember those days when I would just decide to head to the beach, without much planning. Then in my 20s, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and thought my beach days were over.
I learned over the years that my beach days were not over, but that they were just going to look a little different. I am not going to lie: it took me years to perfect my current beach routine.
5 tips to prepare for a beach day
However, with a little planning and the right tools, it is possible. I hope the following tips and tools help you plan for and experience a successful and relaxing trip to the beach.
1. A portable beach umbrella and chair
This is a key tool for me in my beach day kit.
I have found investing in a high-quality beach umbrella with a built-in UV 50+ sunshade has worked the best to keep me protected from the sun. I have also used a beach umbrella without the built-in UV 50+ sunshade in it, and it has worked.
Amazon offers a variety of sun umbrellas. As of this article, the starting price for an umbrella with UV 50+ protection is 42 dollars. However, there are more budget-friendly options without UV protection.
There are also various brands of outdoor sun protectant spray available on Amazon and at your local hardware and chain retail stores. The retail cost is around 10 dollars a can. I personally have used Scotch Guard Sun and Water Shield. There are a lot of options out there to choose from. Carefully read the bottle and apply as the manufacture instructs.
2. Heavy-duty collapsible folding all-terrain beach wagon
This tool has been essential for me placing all of my beach gear and belongings in. This helps me to successfully get from the car to the beach area.
These carts are made with extra-large wheels to make navigating through the sand easy. I’ve learned the hard way that small traditional wheels on most carts will not work in the sand.
These carts range in price from 30 to a few hundred dollars. A quick search on Amazon will show you all the options and price points available to you. This is a tool that I highly recommend investing in.
3. A cooler
Pack your cooler full of water, drinks with electrolytes, fruit, and some foods and snacks high in protein.
It is super important to keep hydrated and keep your body fueled with protein. Those of us with autoimmune conditions wear quickly in the heat and often take medications that make us very heat-sensitive. Hydrating and doing what we can to keep cool is a necessity, not an option.
4. Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, and UV protectant clothing
Sunscreen is key in helping to protect our skin.
I typically use and 50+SPF in a lotion that is water-resistant. Just make sure to reapply as often as necessary, especially after swimming in the water.
UV protectant clothing is a must-have. From my experience, this type of clothing can be expensive. I am on a pretty tight budget. So, I found a product called Ray Bloc UV Protector for Clothing. I purchased mine at Home Depot.
There are no harsh chemicals in it and all I do is just spray the current clothing I own. Just be sure to follow all the manufacturer's directions on the bottles. The cost is about 15 dollars for an 8-ounce bottle.
There are a variety of beach chairs out there to choose from depending on your needs. Some are much lower to the ground than others. Some provide much more support than others. Beach chairs are a very personal decision.
If you are unsure of what would work for you, I suggest a quick search on Amazon or on a store site of your choice so you can start comparing beach chairs.
5. Pack-up the night before
To conserve energy on a beach day, I pack my car with my supplies the night before, minus my cooler full of good eats and drinks. Right before I leave for the beach, I pack my cooler in the car.
Happy beaching to you all! Please reach out and let me know if any of these tips were helpful.
Did you have difficulty receiving a RA diagnosis?