It’s just starting to get colder, and for some people, it’s not just the fingers and toes feeling the cold. Sore joints and muscle pain are common when it’s cold. Low temperatures naturally cause pain by tensing and tightening the joints and muscles, reducing both flexibility and mobility. Another contributing factor is more psychological. The cold tends to make people uncomfortable, heightening your awareness of every bodily twinge and ache.
However, there are a few things you can do to overcome the pain and start feeling better. Try these tips to get some pain relief for the muscles and keep yourself active during the cold winter months.
1. Stay active
Staying active is always a great way to stay healthy, especially during winter. Regular exercise boosts the body’s production of synovial fluid, which helps the joints stay lubricated and limber. A good workout also releases the body’s feel-good hormones, which can go a long way toward helping you ignore more of the aches and pains. All the snow can make it a little harder to do regular jogging or other outdoor exercises, but there are ways to get around that.
Consider indoor swimming in a warm pool, or see if there’s a convenient hill where you can take the kids tobogganing. Winter provides plenty of interesting opportunities to switch up your exercise routine, so keep your eyes open for more ways to spice things up.
2. Avoid winter weight gain
With all the ice and snow in the way, it’s often difficult to get out as much as you normally do. Added to the usual holiday festivities, and it’s extremely easy to gain weight in winter. However, it’s a good idea to maintain a healthy weight or drop a few pounds if necessary to make things a little easier on your joints and muscles.
Losing a pound can relieve up to 4 pounds of pressure from your knees.
It can also help to refrain from prolonged sitting during the holidays. Find new ways to stay fit, and try some tricks to keep yourself active. Standing desks are a good choice if your job involves prolonged hours in front of a computer. Standing burns more energy than sitting in a chair and it will allow you to change your position every now and then.
3. Drink plenty of water
A good rule of thumb for any season is to stay hydrated. In winter, the air is much drier, which can make you feel more tired, dehydrated, and achy, particularly if you have an existing condition.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. If you’re keeping up with your exercise regimen, drink more to replace the water lost in your workouts. Bone broth, soup, and tea are good substitutes for water and can keep you warm when you’re bundled up in your blankets.
4. Eat a balanced diet
A healthy diet isn’t just a way to maintain general good health, it might also be just what you need to bolster your joint health. Eating a well-balanced diet can help strengthen the immune system, keeping you from getting sick and having to deal with the accompanying aches and pains.
Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains to ensure your diet includes something from all the major food groups. Many of these foods are great for your joints as well. Foods like leafy greens, onions, and fish are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components, which can play a major role in countering the usual winter muscle pain.
5. Wear light but warm layers
Wearing several layers of clothing for better insulation makes sense in the cold weather. However, if you’re dealing with muscle pain, it’s a good idea to avoid bulky and heavy clothes. Stick to lighter materials to make it easier on your muscles and joints. Breathable cotton makes a good first layer, followed by lightweight wool or fleece.
See to it that your clothes can resist moisture, especially in heavy snow, so they don’t absorb water that could lower your body temperature. The core is the most critical part of the body to keep warm, so dress warmly from your hips to your shoulders. Warm clothes are also a great way to promote blood flow and help you stay warm throughout the day. Some gloves and thick socks can also do much to alleviate any finger and toe aches. Keep emergency gloves and socks handy just in case it gets a little too cold. Compression socks and gloves are good picks since they promote blood flow and trap heat.
6. Practice winter self-care
With all the white and grey of winter, it’s no wonder winter blues are such a common problem. One problem the winter blues bring with them is exacerbating any muscle pains, making them more noticeable. Spend some of your off-time practicing winter self-care. Applying muscle pain creams or ointments may be able to help with the aches, and help you feel a little better when you’re having a day to yourself.
You can also take the time to try other things both to fight off muscle pain or to treat yourself. Try taking a day trip to get a massage or visit a chiropractor who can address musculoskeletal issues. If you’re more of a homebody, treat yourself to a nice hot bath instead. A hot bath doesn’t just feel great; it also speeds blood flow to reduce swelling and inflammation to bring you pain relief.
7. Get plenty of sleep
A good night’s sleep is always conducive to helping you feel your best. When you sleep, your body takes the time to recuperate from your daily labours and freshen up for the next day. Getting plenty of rest is key to helping you feel better so you can overcome any joint pains that came with the winter.
Practice good sleeping habits so you can fall asleep much more easily each night. Sleep at consistent times. Make sure the room is dark. Avoid caffeinated drinks before bed. While you’re at it, try to stay warm when sleeping. Colder temperatures are often ideal for a good night’s sleep, but they may contribute to joint pain and stiffness if you’re prone to those conditions. Bundle up when going to bed to prevent any discomfort when you wake up.
Chiropractic is a great solution if you’re prone to winter back pains. Fairway Chiropractic Centre is here to provide quality chiropractic service to improve your quality of life and help you feel much healthier as the holidays draw nearer. Give us a call now at (519) 748-5535 to start your road to better health.