Fight The Effects Of Winter Weather On Arthritis
Cold temperatures can aggravate arthritic joints and tempt you to ride out winter in sedentary hibernation. Don’t do it! We explain why it is important to stay active, with tips to keep you moving no matter how frosty the weather gets.
It’s no fun to have arthritis when the weather gets cold. Although there’s not a lot of scientific evidence to explain why arthritic joints feel more painful in frigid weather, plenty of patients report that cold weather affects arthritis and seems to trigger joint pain.
Hibernating poses a risk for joints
We do know that when people hibernate more and move less during the winter, their joints pay a price. When arthritis joints remain in the same position for too long, they become stiff. The less you move, the stiffer you become. Also, when your activity level goes down—and especially if your consumption of comforting winter dishes goes up, you are more prone to gain weight. Extra weight puts more stress on arthritic joints.
Boost those endorphins
Staying active through the winter has some positive benefits for your mental outlook as well as your joints. When you push aside your cozy throw and make the extra effort to exercise, your body releases mood-lifting endorphins—which also have a pain-blocking effect.
Cold weather tips to fight arthritis
Here are a few ways you can keep your activity level up when the temperatures drop:
- Set up a gym in your home. Whether you invest in a stationary bike or a treadmill, or simply pick up some resistance bands, small weights, or a balance ball, working out in the comfort of your home is convenient and easier than traveling to the gym—especially when the weather turns icy.
- Join a class. Are you drawn to yoga, Pilates, or dance classes? The routine of scheduled exercise is great motivation to move. Classes are also a wonderful way to combat cabin fever and enjoy friendly socializing with others who share your commitment to fitness.
- Take advantage of winter’s wonderland. If you are fit enough for outdoor activity, bundle up and enjoy winter’s snowy beauty while snowshoeing, walking, or cross-country skiing. Be sure to warm up your muscles before you leave home with a few minutes of stretches or walking—and stay hydrated.
Talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise program to make sure your workout is safe for your arthritis and any other health conditions you have. Any or all of these activities can help you take care of your joints and keep you in the habit of exercise even when cold weather affects arthritis. Spring will be here before you know it!
When to seek treatment for your arthritis
Summit Orthopedics is home to Minneapolis/St. Paul’s top arthritis specialists for joint pain treatment. If you are experiencing worrisome symptoms or persistent pain, let the arthritis team at Summit Orthopedics help. They work with you to confirm a diagnosis and develop an appropriate conservative treatment plan to address your problems.
If nonsurgical treatments fail to support your lifestyle goals, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons are here to consult with you and discuss appropriate surgical options. Summit is home to innovative joint replacement options. Our Vadnais Heights Surgery Center, one of two surgery centers nationally to have received The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement.
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