Are you ready for some seasonal relief? When the temperature plummets through the winter months, you may begin to notice more frequent body aches. This unpleasant symptom is particularly prominent in those with bone-related injuries or diseases such as osteoarthritis.
For some, inclement weather is connected with complaints ranging from stiff shoulders and hips to aching ankles and knees. And although this is far from a meteorologically sound source for predicting weather patterns, there may be a connection between cold weather and stiff joints.
It’s also important to consider how posture changes when walking through a frigid gust of wind or a snowfall, as we have a tendency to hunch over and tighten the muscles while moving. Poor posture leads to fatigue and aches from muscular misalignments and imbalances.
All of these factors contribute and compound the effects of a cold climate. But before you begin searching for one-way flights to Florida, give the following tips a try.
Stretch out. So much of our day is dedicated to such sedentary habits as sitting at a desk. When you finally stand, you’ll likely let out some moans and groans in response to your stiffness.
Think of your body as being like cement. In order to keep from stiffening, it must keep moving. To keep the body supple, perform light stretches in the morning and then several times throughout the day. Start slowly, waiting at least 30 minutes after rising before beginning your stretching circuit. And, if time permits, warm and soothe your muscles with a hot shower before engaging in these stretches.
Here are some helpful movements to improve circulation and flexibility. Use a carpeted surface or well-cushioned mat to support the knees and hands.
Note: For those with arthritis, or other orthopedic conditions, always consult your physician before starting a new routine.
Thread the needle
The lunging stork
Dress up. A Swedish friend once told me, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.” Layering up in warm clothing is one of the easiest forms of defense against frigid conditions. By building a buffer around your body, you are able to maintain a healthy internal temperature. Aim to keep your core area well-covered and always protect your hands, feet and head. Layers are ideal because you can peel them off if you begin to overheat. Synthetics, silk and wool are all good choices; cotton tends to hang on to moisture.
Sweat smarter. While it may be tempting to forgo fitness goals to stay warm indoors, remaining stationary only exacerbates body aches further. Rather than ditch your workout, find a routine that can be done from the comfort of your home, or in a warm setting such as a gym or indoor pool.
Swimming in a heated pool is an excellent, low-impact exercise that keeps the joints safe, muscles strong, heart healthy, and body warm. Aim for 30 minutes a day, three times a week.