Yes, we know it’s April and it’s slowly but surely getting colder and the body is starting to become more stiff, sore and aching. Like most of us when the weather starts to freshen up we tend to go into hibernation and prefer the comfort of our home fireplace or heating. Yes moving your knees, back, shoulders, neck, hands or hips when you have arthritis is painful and not always most comfortable but is something that is really important to continue with to make sure you don’t leave winter feeling sluggish and even more pain or discomfort.
What benefits do i get from exercising and moving when I have joint pain?
- Exercise has been shown to decrease the body’s inflammatory response over time resulting in less pain and soreness.
- Exercise helps to maintain or improve your joint’s range of movement, meaning that if you keep it up besides first thing in the morning it won’t feel as stiff when the weather is chilly Exercise helps to build some muscle strength around your joints to act as secondary cushion for your joints meaning more muscle strength = less pain (think of it as an extra airbag for your joints).
- Exercise helps to also build up your joint’s tolerance to movement making it begin to tolerate everyday activities like reaching overhead when hanging the washing or climbing a set of stairs more tolerable than previously.
What can | implement to reduce my joint stiffness/soreness to manage my arthritis in the cold?
- Using heat pack or hot water bottle to warm up your joints before you start exercising to reduce that stiffness.
- Try alternative forms of exercising such as hydro to manage exercising in the cold weather and reduce some of that stiffness and pain.
- Use of creams such as Pain Away, Voltaren, and Deep heat can all warm up the joint or sore area and reduce some of the pain you have been experiencing.
- Try first thing in the morning before you get out of bed doing some stretches to get the body moving as particularly after a good night’s rest the body needs to get moving gently.
- Making sure at night you warm up your bed by having enough warm blankets or using a heat pack on your joints as this will keep the body warm reducing some pain when it starts to get a bit colder.
Final thing to remember is that don’t expect in winter to not have some soreness/pain/stiffness if you have arthritis, this is normal and very common. Focus on keeping the body active and moving as this will keep you energetic, pain at a manageable level and more importantly ready to hit the ground running come summer.