As the majority of the country prepares for a great staycation, the prospect of sunny summer climes and warm
temperatures is welcomed by many. But for some, the rise in mercury leads to undesirable joint pain that is
exacerbated by the warmer weather.
The phenomenon isn’t just limited to the over sixties. With some surveys suggesting that ‘more than half of British
adults between 16 and 64 experience joint pain during the summer months’, the increased pressure and humidity
that the summer brings with it can increase the expansion of joints, tendons, muscles and even scar tissues,
leaving many suffering with discomfort and pain.
So how can we minimise our susceptibility to summer related joint pain? It firstly goes without saying that anyone
who is experiencing unexplained joint or bone pain that they should primarily consult their doctor for a professional
diagnosis. However, the following may also help to manage heat-related joint pain at home.
An obvious one, but its importance shouldn’t be underestimated. As well as avoiding dehydration, drinking enough water is essential for keeping the joints healthy and flexible. Keeping well hydrated helps to maintain the Synovial fluid that cushions and lubricates your joints. Given that a large component of Synovial fluid is water, drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps to maintain it at an optimal level and contributes to the maintenance of healthy connective tissue and joints.
Water also helps to reduce inflammation by flushing toxins out of the body and diluting salt levels (salt makes your body retain extra water) to ease swelling. NHS Choices suggests that ‘we should drink about 1.2 litres of fluid (6 to 8 glasses) every day to stop us getting dehydrated. In hotter climates, the body needs more than this.’
It’s important to keep moving and be as active as possible. Low impact exercises such as a short, gentle walk, a gentle swim (indoor pools are set to reopen from 25th July 2020), or some moderate movement and stretching whilst sitting will be enough to keep the blood flowing around your body. Whilst keeping active is important, it’s also imperative to listen to your own body and know your limitations. Over-exertion in warm weather can leave joints swollen, so take it slowly and if you experience pain, stop and consult your GP.
Although it’s tempting to bask in the heat all day, staying cool can really help to keep joint pain in check. If you do want to sit outside then take regular breaks from the heat, both in the shade and indoors. Using ice wrapped in a flannel or towel can also help to keep legs cool, or you could invest in a cooling spray. It’s also worth taking cool baths and showers to reduce inflammation and swelling, and relieve pain.
Eat more cherries
Several studies have shown that cherries may help to curb inflammation and that this is likely due to the natural plant chemicals called anthocyanins that give the fruit their colour. Perfect for snacking on a warm summer’s day.
Try a collagen supplement
Several reports and studies in recent years have outlined that oral supplementation of collagen peptides have beneficial effects that contributed to healthy bones and joints. The LQ Collagen Joint Care range is formulated specifically to support bone and joint health as part of a healthy lifestyle. Available from Boots online and Holland & Barrett (hollandandbarrett.com), each product is made with high-quality hydrolysed marine collagen that varies in strength between 1,500mg and 5,000mg per serving. Available in fast-acting liquid and powder formats, with a pleasant and subtle cherry flavour, each product is supported by the addition of glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, magnesium, ginger, vitamin C and copper to deliver joint care support from the inside out. Choose from LQ Collagen Joint Care Powder (£34.99, 300g), LQ Joint Care Liquid Collagen (£18.99, 10 x 25ml bottles) and LQ Collagen Joint Care Max (£27.99, 10 x 50ml).