Summer heat can make exercising unappealing. Exercise is tiring on its own, but it can feel doubly-so in the heat. Warm air has a tendency to make people feel lethargic. When you have arthritis and your stiff joints make exercising even more difficult, you might feel even less motivated to get out and be active. Although it may seem counterintuitive, exercising is actually helpful for managing arthritis pain—so don’t let stiff joints or summer heat keep you from being active.
Arthritic joints actually get stiffer if you don’t use them. Gentle, appropriate exercises for arthritis help you maintain flexibility and range of motion in your damaged joints. These can range from specific motion for the stiff limbs to more broad forms of exercise that affect your whole body as well as your feet.
Here are a few exercises for arthritis that may help you, both specific for your foot joints as well as summer heat-friendly activities for you to do:
- Range of motion – These activities increase your foot’s movability through stretching and gently challenging how far joints can move. This includes pointing and flexing your feet, rotating your feet at the ankles, and using your hands to stretch your lower limbs.
- Strengthening – Building up your lower limbs helps support and protect your arthritic feet. Try resistance band exercises, calf raises, picking up marbles with your toes, and a variety of other muscle-strengthening motions.
- Walking – Walking is easy and can be done either outdoors in the morning or evening when the air starts to cool to more pleasant temperatures, or on tracks in air-conditioned buildings.
- Swimming – This low-impact activity is great for keeping cool while still working your feet. Try swimming slow laps at a local pool.
- Yoga – This is still a warm activity, but in this case, the heat helps your muscles move and stretch without hard impacts.