Summer Fun for People With Arthritis

Summer is now in full swing and that means people are heading outdoors. They’re heading to the park to picnic and throw the Frisbee; they’re heading to the beach to lie in the sun or frolic in the ocean; they’re heading for their favorite campgrounds in the woods or the mountains.

All, that is, except for those of us with arthritis. Most of us can’t navigate the trails in the woods, and walking in the sand on the beach can be really hard. Our shoulders are too painful for Frisbee-throwing, and it’s hard for us to even help carry the ice chest out to the picnic spot.

We’re handicapped, and the summer brings that knowledge home in an especially intense way.

There is good news about summer, though. For a lot of people with arthritis, the warmer, dryer weather helps a little with the symptoms — pain and swelling seem to decrease a little, and morning stiffness is not so debilitating.

There are still a lot of summer activities that people with arthritis can enjoy. The gentler sports like croquet, badminton and shuffleboard can be a lot of fun. With a friend or two to carry the croquet set and the cooler, you can participate in a picnic in the park just like everyone else. I have a great campstool my father bought me at an outdoor supply store — you could probably find one like it. It folds up as small as an umbrella, but unfolds into a very sturdy stool that allows me to sit even in inconvenient places. It’s hard for me to get down on the ground, but my stool makes picnicking possible for me.

Why don’t you visit the drkoop.com message board and tell us what devices you’ve found useful for outdoor activities? How about ways to have fun in the summertime?

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