On summer days, the last thing we want is to be slowed down by pain and achy joints — yet for two in three of us, that’s what’s happening. Blame the outdoor tasks we do this time of year combined with the joint swelling from soaring temperatures. To stay limber and ache-free, follow the suggestions below so you can enjoy this glorious time of year.
Crunch on a cucumber.
Adding a cup of fresh cucumbers to a meal or snack could limber you up in just 30 minutes, plus cut your risk of future joint pain flares in half if you enjoy them daily. That’s the word from researchers at Connecticut’s University of Bridgeport, who say cucumbers are rich in salicylic acid, a compound that reduces joint inflammation and swelling. And because they’re 97 percent water, cucumbers prevent dehydration — a common stiffness trigger in hot weather.
Soothe achy hands.
Slip your hands into a bowl of cold water for one minute, then warm water for one minute. Rapid temperature changes pump trapped fluids and inflammation out of joints and back into circulation, relieving hand pain in eight minutes, say British scientists.
Massage this cream.
Celadrin (a unique blend of fatty acids) now comes in lotions, and massaging it into joints provides relief in 30 minutes. Use it twice daily, and you’ll cut stiffness by 42 percent in a week, University of Connecticut scientists say.
Celadrin works by calming pain nerves and lubricating joints.
Try: InflameAway Celadrin Cream (Buy on Amazon, $22.99).
Stretch your limbs.
Stretching once hourly lessens achiness by 83 percent, suggests new research in JAMA. Study coauthor Tony Kelly, PhD, says small, frequent stretches help relieve pain and improve mobility more effectively than longer, less-frequent sessions do.
Focus on breath.
Close your eyes and focus on the sound of your breath, and your joint pain could drop by 25 percent in 10 minutes. Do it twice daily to cut achiness in half, suggests research in Pain Studies and Treatment. Study co-author Dave Burnett, Ph.D., explains this technique calms overactive pain nerves.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.