It’s officially winter and though there may be some reports that we will be experiencing warmer nights in the next two weeks according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, some of you out there (like me) are already experiencing the proverbial muscle aches and joint pains due to the extreme cold!
Here are some workable solutions to manage those aches and pains that we of a more “seasoned” age are experiencing. But before you go through our list, remember that it’s always necessary to go to your GP for initial consultation especially if you already have pre-existing medical conditions.
So here we go ..
Keep moving! The cold makes staying under the sheets more inviting. But not having any physical activity causes are bodies to lose more heat which then makes our muscles contract. Long periods of inactivity are detrimental to joint health so make sure that you put on those runners and start moving – walk your dog, do some stretching or simple yoga, move up and down the stairs or clean the house more often. How often? Regular exercise should happen at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week. So to make it more enticing, combine all these activities to make it more exciting. Running, biking or just brisk walking also exposes you to the sun which provides you your necessary daily dose of Vitamin D.
Have an anti-inflammatory diet. Inflammation may be the culprit with these pains that we feel. During winter, barometric pressure* changes which causes the expansion of tissues and cause pain in your joints. So work in some important elements in your diet to help you combat the inflammation caused by this pressure change. Start with fruits and vegetables that provide you with the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Incorporate bananas and blue berries with your regular munchies and kale or spinach in your entrée and most especially turmeric as tea or even mixed with your rice makes sure you are inflammation free.
Stay hydrated. If you think that dehydration mostly happens in the warm season, then that’s one more reason why you should hydrate during winter. Due to the extremely low temperature, breathing cold and dry air causes the body to lose significant amounts of fluid. And since we feel less thirsty - without the visual cue of excessive perspiration - we forget to hydrate by drinking water. Water keeps our joints from drying alleviating joint pains problems.
Soak in a warm bath with Epsom salt. Epsom salt helps ease those aching muscles. Aside from the relaxing experience the soak brings, magnesium sulfate is a good catalyst to hydrate the body and ease the lost fluids in the joints.
Stay warm. Proper home heating and clothing prevents the body from being exposed to extreme cold preventing the stiffness of the joints and often muscles aches. When going out, make sure to keep your extremities warm – your hands by wearing gloves, your feet by wearing warm socks and your head by wearing the right head gear (beanie, hat, scarf) because these are the usual exit points of heat from our body.
And if all fails, make sure to snuggle up with your family or that special someone that will definitely keep the heat flowing in your body.
*Barometric pressure:It is the weight of the atmosphere that is present all around us. Barometric pressures will often fall before cold weather sets in. This causes expansion of tissues and pain in your joints.