Do achy joints plague you during the coldest months? Does it seem like your knees, hips, and ankles feel sore whenever snow is falling?
It’s not your imagination! Winter weather—particularly cold—can cause slow, achy joints, making it hard to get moving. If you’re looking for winter joint pain relief, here are eight tips to help you avoid the discomfort brought on by the cold.
But first, it helps to understand why winter aches and pains happen.
Why Cold Weather Make our Bones and Joints Ache
There are several reasons why winter weather may cause joints to feel achy. The cold naturally makes muscles feel more tensed up and tight.
This tension may lead to less mobility and less flexibility in the joints. Some studies also link changes in joints to changes in the barometric pressure, dry air, and other winter-related issues.
The jury is still on that one but ask anyone who lives with joint pain and they will tell you: they are weather predators
Cold is very uncomfortable, and the discomfort makes us painfully aware of every twinge and ache. So, if you’re ready to combat winter joint pain, here are a few tips for winter joint pain relief to help you feel better when blustery temperatures settle in.
Drink Water 💧
Hydration is important but it’s especially vital in the winter months. People often think of drinking more water when it’s sunny and warm, but in the winter, dry air makes you feel dehydrated, tired, and achy. Don’t neglect your water intake! I am trying to get more water also, because honestly I am terrible at it.
If you aren’t a fan of plain water, sipping a cup of warm herbal tea is an excellent way to get more hydration in the winter. Bone broth and soup are also hydrating options. Aim for about six to eight glasses of water per day, more if you are working out and active.
EAT A HEALTHY, BALANCED DIET 🥗
A healthy diet is essential year-round. In the winter months, a well-balanced diet will keep your body much healthier than a lifestyle of processed junk food.
Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and beans lean meats, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods and foods high in sugar and saturated fat. If you are sensitive to certain foods, consult with your physician about determining the best course of action. If you can afford it see a dietician and they can help you get on the right path.
It’s vital to keep your body active, even in the winter months. While you shouldn’t work through significant joint pain without the assistance of a medical professional, stiff or achy joints shouldn’t mean canceling your gym membership.
Often, we feel less motivated and more inclined to stay home, where it’s cozy and warm during the winter. Netflix and the couch seem to beckon, especially when a brisk walk means bundling up in layers, but you can walk in a mall indoors. Low impact activity will keep your joints healthy. Try indoor swimming in a warm pool, stretching with yoga or Pilates, brisk walking, and weight training to keep your body active and fit. But remember it’s also ok to not be ok once in a while. We all need to rest and recharge. Listen to your body.
TRY TO AVOID WINTER WEIGHT GAIN
Hand-in-hand with winter often comes weight gain. 5-7 Over the holidays, healthy habits tend to slide a bit, with many people packing on extra weight. Then we add frigid temps , hibernation and before you know it we gained 8-12 lbs in a winter. That doesn’t help our joints. Although the average is 3-6 pounds even a small amount of excess weight will start to affect your knees and other joints.
If you feel like you need to rein it in after the holidays, or your eating more than usual because you hit the winter blues talk to your doctor, if you have a bad relationship with food seek a counselor or a 12 step OA meeting.
INQUIRE ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS AND OTHER TREATMENTS
Curious about joint health supplements and treatments? Always consult with your physician on the best plan for your body. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications may be necessary, but only under the supervision of a physician. Many supplements and medications can result in unwanted side effects. And many cannot take NSAIDS.
Follow through on your physician’s recommendations for any vitamins (such as vitamin D) that may get low once the weather gets cold. Your doctor will help you figure out the best course of action for winter joint pain relief.
If you’re concerned that your winter joint pain is more than cold weather, call your doctor right away.
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