10 Fun Summer Activities for RA’ers

RA'ers can fly kites too!

Summer is here, summer is here!! Okay, so it may not be technically summer just yet, but that summer sun is definitely shining this week.

….Why is no one else excited?  I know I am.

Yes, some of the fun things we used to be able to do in the summer time are a little out of Rheumatoid Arthritis patients’ reach.  This is no cause for sadness, because even though we cannot do some beloved hobbies, we have the chance to explore and find new things to love.  This my sound like quite the challenge, considering any activity is going to require joint usage, but with a little alteration and a lot of creativity,  you’re guaranteed to have some fun in the sun this summer.

For today’s post, I’m counting down the top ten summer activities for RA’ers.

10. Sun Bathing – Read a book, play chess, take a nap.  Whatever you do, do it in the sun!  Several studies suggest that Vitamin D deficiency is linked to the diagnosis and aggravation of Rheumatoid Arthritis, and sunlight is an important source of vitamin D.  Sunlight exposure also releases endorphins.  Just by sitting in the sun, you can cure your case of the blues, which can be so common among RA patients.  Getting quality sun time also improves your sleep patterns, which can also be thrown off by RA.

9. Take a Drive – Explore your city or a surrounding city with a friend.  Roll the windows down and enjoy the fresh air and warm breezes.  Create a soundtrack for your adventure (classics like Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” are always fun).  I find aimless driving to be relaxing, and it can be fun bonding time with friends and family.  And it is most certainly better than sitting in the house.

8. Fly a Kite – Remember those fun activities we did as kids?  Kite flying, tossing a Frisbee, chalking, blowing bubbles….who says we can’t still play with these toys?  I know what you’re thinking, all these activities sound like they involve a lot of movement and a lot of energy.  But with a few adjustments (sitting while playing, limiting wrist movements, etc.) we can have some childish fun as well.  I recently bought a kite from this online store, and I’m very excited about taking it out for a spin very soon.  The great thing about this kite is that it is designed so that five year olds can fly it.  It’s super light weight and is meant to catch even the slightest of breezes.  And once its in the air, you can sit back, relax, and have fun guiding it through the air.

7. Stargazing – Warm summer nights means one of my favorite past times, stargazing.  With a star map (like this one you can download onto your iPhone), you can spend the night outside locating your favorite planets, stars, and constellations.  Websites update daily with stargazing tips and certain stars to look for.  For example, StarDate Online says for 4-22: “The Moon slides between the planets Mars and Saturn the next few nights. Tonight [April , Mars is to the upper right of the Moon at nightfall. It looks like a bright orange star. Golden Saturn is a good bit to the lower left of the Moon.”

6. Picnics – Gather up some close friends and have them each bring  a different food item or drink to a nearby lake or park.  Take a blanket and eat a bite of lunch in the grass while you catch up with your buds.  Themed picnics are even more fun!

5. Photography – It’s hard for us artistic RA’ers to have creative outlets when our joints are swollen and tender.  I’ve gone from playing the drums to scrapbooking to painting and drawing, and now even that can be difficult.  Which is why I’m thinking of taking photography back up.  I was really into photography in my early years of high school, and clicking a button seems to be much easier than drawing for a few hours.  And all the pretty summer flowers make for great models.

4. Create a Terrarium – Bending over and playing in the dirt tending to baby plants’ needs can be hard on RA patients’ backs and hands, but there’s no need to give up this hobby entirely. Terrarium’s are fun, indoor gardens that require little upkeep, but are tons of fun to create.  And because it’s gardening on a smaller level, it’s easier on your hands, and you can create your terrarium at a table, eliminating stress on your back.  You can learn how to make a terrarium here.

3. Geocaching – Geocaching is a modernized treasure hunt on a global scale. Players use a GPSr’s to locate geocaches, and then connect online to share their stories and pictures of their adventures. It’s a great new game that is becoming more and more popular all the time.  And geocaches can be found almost anywhere.  About a year ago my boyfriend and I found one next to a local Chinese restaurant.  You can also select a geocache based on difficultly, i.e. “a difficult hike or an easy adventure,”  according to the sport’s homepage Goecaching.com, where you can find out more about this fun activity.

2. Baseball Games – “Take me out to the ball game!”  Even if you don’t like baseball, when you’re watching a game in person it’s hard not to get into the game, especially when you bring all your friends along to heckle the opposing team and pig out on hot dogs and nachos.  America’s favorite past time is a summer must, and all that’s required of you is to sit back, relax, cheer along and eat some food.  Be sure to take a seat cushion or a pillow if you have back problems, and every few innings stand up and get a good stretch in to prevent stiffness.

1. Swimming – There are very few people who do not enjoy swimming, and it’s the thing to do in the summer time.  This is good news for us, considering swimming is an RA-friendly exercise and is recommended by many rheumatologists.  Even if you don’t have the enjoy to swim from one side of the lake to the other, floating and general movements in the water can be great for your joints, and the cool water is refreshing on hot summer days.

Remember, most activities after performed for long periods of time have the potential of causing  tenderness and pain.  Please keep in mind that these activities should be performed in moderation, especially when these activities require joints that are already tender and/or painful.  If a doctor recommends discontinuation of an activity or limited use of a joint, it is probably in your best interest to heed their warnings.

Stay healthy!

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Tweets that mention 10 Fun Summer Activities for RA’ers « My Bum Thumb -- Topsy.com
  2. Cathy Prentice
    Jun 23, 2010 @ 00:50:04

    Cari, as to #10. Sunbathe. Be very careful with this one, most RA meds make you way more susceptible to UV rays… be sure to use sunblock!! I am no longer able to enjoy the sun without at least SPF 50 on because I also have Systemic Lupus now. I definitely agree on it’s healing effects, when I lost my Dad years ago, laying in the sun (with sunblock on) helped me heal emotionally and working in my garden helps keep my stress level down to this day.


  3. Cathy Prentice
    Jun 28, 2010 @ 02:54:10

    I wasn’t trying to be a know it all, it’s just that with the meds I take for my RA + the SLE, I can’t stay in the sun…and I miss it. Last year we had a 27′ x 54′ garden…my other half kept moving our canopy to shade me while i weeded and tended the plants, or I waited until the house shaded the garden and kept going after dark because our yard light was sufficient. I miss being in the sun, it just isn’t worth getting sick.

    On another note, the garden kept my mind off of my physical problems and fresh veggies are always healthy.


    • Cari Elliott
      Jun 28, 2010 @ 17:02:55

      Oh, no! I know you weren’t being a know it all. Most of us RA’ers are on Methotrexate, which can make you very sensitive to sunlight, including myself. It’s very important to wear sunscreen and I’m glad you mentioned it.

      I love having fresh veggies at my fingertips, and it’s so satisfying knowing you grew them yourself!


  4. Cathy Prentice
    Jun 28, 2010 @ 22:04:48

    The main reason for the garden was to see if eating fresh grown foods with no commercial chemicals or processing would make a difference in my symptoms. I have no scientific proof, but I do feel better, mentally at least, knowing exactly what is going on my plate… we canned and froze the excess, so we are still eating home-grown food from last year.


  5. Carri
    Apr 12, 2014 @ 15:42:31

    Hi, yup this article is actually pleasant and I have learned lot of things from it concerning blogging.


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