Winter and our joints tend to have an unhealthy relationship. Cold weather places a lot of pressure on our joints, making them feel increasingly stiff and sore. However, there are ways to fight against weather-related joint pain to help relieve some of the associated stiffness.
There are many reasons why the cooler weather is not kind to our joints. Firstly, barometric pressure changes. Basically, right before cold weather sets in, barometric pressures fall, meaning our tissues expand and our joints hurt.
Secondly, thickening of joint fluid. The cold weather may thicken our synovial fluid, which acts as a barrier for our joints, meaning it does not flow as easily and our joints become stiff.
Cold weather also increases the sensitivity of our nerve joints, meaning we are more prone to things like inflammation. For many of us, the wintertime tends to mean slightly reduced levels of physical activity and unfortunately, decreased mobility leaves us with stiff and neglected joints.
It is clear that winter has the upper hand on our joints but there are a number of ways that we can limit the impact of the colder weather on our bodies and escape winter’s icy grasp.
We know cold weather offers a license to sleep in, but regular exercise is essential to maintaining healthy joints. However, don’t feel that you need to conform to your summer routine. In fact, in winter, exercises designed for the outdoors may be incompatible with your joints. Long runs, for example, place pressure on weight-bearing joints (ankles and knees) which may cause pain. Try substituting long runs for more winter-friendly workouts such as stretching, this will improve your flexibility and release tension and stiffness associated with joint pain. Physical activities that incorporate a lot of stretching include things like Yoga and Pilates, which are also perfect for indoors. If you do want to go for a run, make sure to stretch beforehand to prevent injury and prepare your muscles.
Massages are a great way to release tension and reduce joint stiffness. Research has shown that regular massages can lower the body’s production of stress hormones, reduce levels of proteins (cytokines) which cause inflammation, lower blood pressure levels and increase serotonin. The most beneficial forms of massage for joint pain include Swedish, Shiatsu, Lymphatic and Petrissage. Just make sure to consult your doctor prior to getting a massage to ensure it is a safe option for you and your joints.
As our bodies react to the physical environment, our cells produce something called ‘free radicals’. These free radicals harm our body function, causing things like inflamed joints. This is why antioxidants are so beneficial to our diets, as they help prevent or slow the damage caused by free radicals. To get the most out of antioxidants, try to opt for healthy fats, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, lean protein, whole grains and spices. Also, avoid alcohol, red meat and processed foods. Some of the best antioxidant-rich foods you can incorporate into your diet this winter include berries, fatty fish, spinach, green tea and turmeric!
Combining a healthy exercise regime and diet with natural supplements is the best thing you can do for your joints. At Bod, we harness the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric in our Flexofytol curcumin supplement to help ease joint discomfort and pain. With a formulation that has been documented for centuries, taking regular curcumin supplements, in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, can be the final knockout against winter’s hold on our joints.
Find out more about how Bod supplements can help to restore joint mobility here.