Fight your Pain While Enjoying the Outdoors this summer.
It’s summertime, and the sun is shining.The birds are chirping and the flowers are in bloom. Stiff, achy joints are loosening up, and it’s becoming much easier to get out of the house. Summer is here! The time has come to enjoy nature’s beauty while reaping its benefits.
Try these 7 great ways to work the pain out while enjoying the summer months:
Walking is the easiest way to get exercise. It supports healthy joint movement (for those arthritic knees), while providing opportunities for good blood flow and mild muscle stimulation. Walking through a park gives you plenty to look at, while taking a friend will give you a chat and maybe a laugh while doing so. Not only is it refreshing and fun, you will probably walk further that if you worked out on a treadmill, too.
Doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of brisk walking a day. For patients that are new to exercising, or in those that have conditions that require a slow pacing, starting with a few minutes a day is recommended. Work your way up slowly, adding a few more minutes per day each week. Always let your body tell you when it has had enough.
Hiking is a fantastic workout, and a great way to explore nature. It allows for great cardio, while lending a hand to joint health and weight control. The best way to begin hiking is to start small. Find short trails that have a low grade and a well carved path. Work your way up in length and difficulty very slowly, and make sure you are always prepared. Find the right shoes for the terrain, always carry water, and bring a few snacks in case you need a carb replenishment on a hike longer than a couple hours. Make sure you bring a hiking buddy. Not only will you have company, you have a second set of eyes (and hands if needed) if something happens.
For a map of popular hiking trails of all difficulty levels, check out this site: http://www.americantrails.org/resources/statetrails/
Or for maps, forecasts, and trail info on the go, try one of these apps that also allow map downloading in case you hit a dead zone. You can also track your hikes, take photos, and share your trips on facebook.
Ridding your pain this season can be as simple as riding a bike. Cycling is great for arthritis as it promotes good joint movement. It is also beneficial for improving cardio health and building muscle.
When shopping for a bicycle, specialty bikes are made for pain sufferers. These bikes are ergonomically sound, and need to be custom fitted to the rider. It is important that the bike is fitted properly, as problems with the back or knees can ensue or become further agitated.
When starting a cycling routine, start small. Take a spin around the block and get acclimated to the ride. Slowly push yourself a little bit further everyday, one block at a time. If you ever get winded or start feeling pain, stop immediately.