When you have gout, it seems like the last thing you want to do is get into sports.
You barely have time to exercise, who has the time to do sports?
And you should find time to do it because sports is not just about play, it’s also about health. You can’t just diet the symptoms away. You need to get moving as well. And sports is the perfect thing to add to your routine. Here are just some benefits of sports for gout.
Benefits of Sports for Gout
- It helps you stay fit
Being unfit is one of the risk factors for having gout. When you look at gout patients, you’ll find that most of them are overweight or obese. By doing sports regularly, you don’t just lose weight, you also feel more energetic. It’s as if you didn’t have gout at all! Of course this isn’t true, but what gout patient doesn’t want to feel normal?
- It builds stronger joints
Joints are greatly impacted when you have gout. Thankfully, this can be mitigated through sports. By forcing yourself to do sports regularly, you get it accustomed to movements, and eventually, you get stronger that it doesn’t hurt so much to move anymore.
- It helps you maintain your ideal weight
It’s important to manage your weight when you have gout. Being overweight or obese means you have excess uric acid in your body, which can lead to frequent gout attacks. To avoid this, you’ll want to set a target weight based on your BMI.
To find out your ideal weight, you need to do a computation. For men, it’s 52kg + 1.9kg for each inch over 5 feet. For women, it’s 49kg + 1.7kg for each inch over 5 feet. The result is your ideal weight in kilograms.
Of course, this isn’t the perfect formula but it’s a good rule of thumb to follow. To get the most accurate ideal weight, you should speak to your doctor. They will give you recommendations based on more specific factors like your age and other health conditions as well.
It can seem daunting when you find out what that number is but when you do sports, you’ll barely feel like it’s hard work. This is because sports has a competitive element to it which can be fun. Unlike working out where your focus might be on the pain you’re feeling on each rep.
To get to your ideal weight fast, make sure you involve yourself in some sports activity at least three times a week, for 30 minutes each session.
- It decreases pain
Gout patients are all too familiar with pain. Nothing can compare to that sudden flare that happens in the middle of the night that leaves you incapacitated for days. When you get into sports, you decrease your chances of experiencing that excruciating pain and it might even improve those painful symptoms you feel everyday.
- It encourages healthy social interaction
Alcohol is so ubiquitous in our culture, it seems like you can’t go to any social event without having it. Sports is one of those rare activities where there is zero alcohol. By being involved in some sport, you get to socialize with other people without having to drink. No one to pressure you to have a glass of wine or beer. In fact, people in this environment are quite the opposite. They might even encourage=ge you to be healthier and ditch those unhealthy habits.
- It boosts your mood
Despite its prevalence, gout is still widely misunderstood by people. The pain gout sufferers feel are often dismissed because people think it’s a result of drinking or eating too much. What they don’t know is that gout is a lifelong condition that can impact the patient, even after they’ve grown out of their unhealthy habits. It can feel isolating having this condition. The social aspect of sports is enough to boost your mood. But aside from that, the endorphins you get from the exercise will help regulate your mood, especially if you have anxiety or depression.
Ideal Sports for Gout
You need to be wise about your choice of sport when you have gout. This is because your joint problems make you more prone to injuries. With the right sport, you can still enjoy its benefits without putting yourself at risk for accidents. Here are just ideal sports for people with gout.
Swimming is an ideal sport for gout because it’s gentle on your joints. It allows you to get your heartrate up without impacting your joints too much.
If you enjoy music, dancing might just be the sport for you. You can join your local Zumba class or enroll in a ballroom class. Whatever the style of dance is, what’s important is you get your body moving.
- Spinning class
Spinning class is another aerobic exercise that’s good for your joints. There’s also a highly competitive aspect of it that can motivate you to do better each time. Just be sure not to overdo it as you don’t want to get injured in the process.
- Weight lifting
Weight lifting helps strengthen your muscles, allowing you to have better support for your joints. When you do weight lifting, start with the smaller weights first and as you get stronger, you can add more. Your body will get used to this activity, and as a result, moving around will be easier to do.
Yoga is a form of stretching exercise that will really help with your joints. It doesn’t look like a sport because you’re not moving as vigorously but you’ll be surprised by how intense this exercise is. Start with the basic positions and make sure you have someone to guide you when you’re doing the more complicated positions.
Other sports that are suitable for gout include basketball, cycling, canoeing, tennis, paddle boarding, skating, skiing, soccer, baseball, volleyball, tai chi,and tennis.
How to Do Sports Safely with Gout
- Stretch first
Regardless if you have gout or not, stretching before and after any strenuous activity is important. This is so your body doesn’t get shocked by the movements that are about to happen. Stretching will also allow you to move with ease during the exercise, preventing injury.
- Start small
If you’re just starting to get into sports, you want to go slow in the beginning. Your body is new to this activity so it needs to get used to the movements required to do it. Once you’re confident with your movements, you can add intensity or duration.
- Practice proper form
Anything that involves moving your body, you need to do it in proper form. Too many injuries have happened because of poor form. If you feel pain from the movements you’re doing, ask help from a trainer or instructor. They’ll guide you on how to properly do a sport without straining yourself.
- Drink lots of water
Doing sports means you’ll be sweating a lot so make sure you have a bottle of water nearby. Don’t wait before you get thirsty and have a sip every now and then. This is so you avoid getting dehydrated which is a trigger for a gout flare.
- Modify where you can
Let’s say you want to do a sport like basketball where it can be a little bit risky for your joints. You can still do it, you just have to take extra precaution. Modify accordingly so you are safe from injuries. For instance, you can wear proper footwear and limit pivoting so you can avoid injury.
- Refuel with the right food
It can be tempting to reward yourself by eating a lot of food after an intense exercise. You might even go as far as eating something bad like a slice of cake or a glass of beer. If you do that, you won’t be able to reap the benefits of your workout since you’re gaining all of the bad things through your diet.
It’s important that you only refuel with healthy foods, and avoid ones that trigger your gout. This is not just good for your health, but for maintaining the habit of exercise as well. When you eat healthy, you feel good and you have the energy to get up the next day and do that workout again.
On the other hand, if you’ve been consistently naughty with your diet, you’ll always feel sluggish and you won’t want to do any exercise at all. Over time, this can become routine that will not be good for your gout condition. It’s also impossible to workout after you’ve had a gout attack.
- Listen to your body
If you feel any soreness in any of your joints, don’t force yourself to go through with an activity. Take a rest instead and schedule the activity another time.
What has your experience been like doing sports while having gout? Share your thoughts in the comments below.