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.

Leg lifts

  • Begin on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your hands and hips over knees.
  • Keep your spine straight and knees bent as you push your right leg up toward the ceiling. Imagine pushing the ceiling up with the bottom of your foot. Stop once your thigh is parallel to the floor.
  • Hold for two counts then lower your leg to the starting stance. Repeat 12 to 15 times, then switch sides.
Leg lift
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Leg lift

Thread the needle

  • Remain on all fours in a tabletop position.
  • Rotate your right hand so the top of it is resting on the mat. Slowly slide your right hand along the mat, through the hole under your left arm, until your entire right arm and shoulder are resting on the floor.
  • Rest here for several counts then move in the opposite direction, rotating your right arm up from the shoulder until your fingers are pointing toward the ceiling. Let your eyes follow your hand as it moves. That’s one repetition. Repeat 10 times on each side.
Thread the needle
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Thread the needle

The lunging stork

  • Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Take a large lateral step with your right leg. As you do so, hinge back at your hips and lower your body until your right leg is bent at about a 90-degree angle.
  • Hold this pose for two counts. Push through your right heel, lifting your right leg and shifting your weight onto your left leg as you pull your right knee up toward your chest. Try to hold your right knee at a 90-degree angle. Continue for 10 repetitions then practice on the opposite leg.
Lunging stork
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
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.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more about her virtual training program, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.