We’ve all had those days in the winter where you ache as soon as you wake up. We’ve all experienced muscle soreness, stiff joints, and other pains. Cold weather, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors, can affect your body in different ways, and sometimes just the effort of staying warm is enough to cause significant aches and tired limbs. Here’s a look at five ways to deal with these winter aches.
At this time of year, one of the biggest causes of aches and pains isn’t the cold weather. It’s the time that we spend running around shopping for gifts, scrubbing our homes, and working extra. If you are busier than ever but still trying to fit all of your daily activities in, you need to start listening to your body. If you are achy and tired, take some time out. Relax in a hot bath, get an early night, and enjoy some rest time.
Get a Check-Up
Aches and pains when it’s cold can be completely normal. Our joints get stiff, we exercise less and ache more when we do. But this isn’t always the case. You know your body. Listen to it. If you ache much more than you’d expect or are experiencing pain with no clear cause, then it’s time to head to your primary care doctor for a check-up.
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Use Heat Therapy
Heat is a powerful tool when it comes to pain relief. If you are struggling with general aches and pains or DOMS following a workout, relaxing in a hot bath or applying heat packs or hot water bottles to affected areas can be a great idea. But, if you have a specific injury or swelling, an ice pack or cool patches may be more effective.
Stretch it Out
Stretching before and after exercise is always important. It can be even more beneficial in the winter when your body has to work harder to stay warm, and your joints are a little stiffer. Always warm-up and cool down before exercise, even if it’s just a few simple stretches. When you are achy, a yoga routine could help stretch your muscles, and a few stretches when you first get out of bed can warm you up, stretch out tired muscles and joints and get your blood pumping.
When you ache, it’s tempting to curl up on the sofa for the day and avoid moving as much as possible. But, while rest is important, staying still for too long can increase stiffness and pain. It’s also harder to stay warm while you are still, and while you may feel better at the time, it will hurt more when you get up. It’s ok to swap a run for a walk and a wights session for yoga. It’s ok to spend the day at home. But, make sure you keep moving, even if it’s just stretching while you wait for the coffee to brew.
Winter aches and pains can be normal. If you are worried, don’t hesitate to see your doctor for more help and advice.