Whether you are doing laps in the pool, mowing the lawn or going for a bike ride this summer, make sure you are making the most out of the season in the healthiest way.
“It is important to stay active, and often easier to stay active during the summertime,” Dr. Kris Homb says, nonsurgical spine and sports specialist at IU Health North Hospital. “If you know you are prone to joint pain during or after exercise, avoid high-impact activities like jumping and running. Instead, try finding a low-impact alternative.”
Dr. Homb suggests trying cycling, swimming, canoeing or kayaking.
“Cycling can be a great source of exercise if you are experiencing knee pain,” Dr. Homb says. “Although it is a repetitive movement, cycling works the quadriceps and hamstrings without putting direct strain on the knee joints. Swimming is also an excellent activity for those who suffer from joint pain or arthritis. Not only does it work all of the body’s muscle groups, it also helps keep your heart healthy. If you’re not the best swimmer, you can get a good workout by walking across the pool forwards, backwards and sideways. Canoeing and kayaking can also be beneficial to someone that suffers from hip pain. This can take pressure off of your hips while still providing a workout for the upper body.”
Yard work is an unavoidable task and can often be painful if done the wrong way. When tackling yard work, Dr. Homb suggests taking breaks frequently, staying well-hydrated and applying sunscreen.
“Gardening, if done correctly and with the right tools, can be beneficial to your body and mind,” he says. “When doing yard work or gardening, don’t over-strain your joints. Limit movements like excessive reaching, bending and kneeling to reduce the strain on your body. When mowing the yard with a push mower, use good posture, keeping your back and wrists straight and pushing with your legs and arms. Mow the lawn at dusk or dawn to avoid the risk of over-exposure to the heat.”
Don’t let pain hold you back from doing your favorite summer activities. Next time you are heading out for time in the sun, remember to choose a low-impact activity if needed, use correct posture, take breaks, stay hydrated and apply plenty of sunscreen. Talk with your doctor if you have consistent joint pain or feel pain completing your normal activities or hobbies.