7 Tips for Minimizing the Aches and Pains of Winter
The cold of winter can affect how your body feels. Stiffness, pain, and loss of mobility are common, but following certain practices can alleviate pain and help you feel better. Since some pain comes from an injury, you must move carefully with an eye on preventing mishaps. Furthermore, healthy eating is important because some foods can exacerbate physical discomfort.
When outside, dress appropriately by wearing a scarf, hat, gloves, and adequate shoes. One way to keep limbs warm and supple indoors is to use a hot water bottle or a heating pad.
Work on Movement
Practice keeping your body supple. Try to stretch daily. Walking is a good activity even in cold weather. Warm-up before any outside activity by doing knee bends, jumping jacks, or lunges to increase flexibility. If you like winter sports, good low-impact pastimes include snow tubing, snow sledding, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Riding a stationary bike, lifting light weights, or swimming in an indoor pool are good choices if you don’t want to go outdoors. If you have joint pain, medical professionals may advise you to skip exercising until the pain goes away. If it doesn’t, seek treatment.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Vegetables that fight inflammation include mustard greens, collard greens, kale, arugula, broccoli, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts. Recommended fruits include blueberries, cherries (except maraschino cherries), pineapple, and tomatoes.
Cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Eat walnuts and other nuts and consume beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas.
Also include avocados, olives, and olive oil, and oatmeal. Likewise, the spices turmeric, curry powder, and ginger have benefits. Cod liver oil/fish oil also helps the joints.
Drink plenty of water, because the dryness of the winter air can make you feel dehydrated and achy. Consume green tea, bone broth, or soup if you don’t like plain water.
Get Vitamin D
Sunshine stimulates the production of vitamin D by the skin, but during winter most people are outdoors less than in the warmer months. Vitamin D allows your gut to absorb calcium and phosphorous. Around 40 percent of Americans are said to have vitamin D deficiency. People with darker skin especially may struggle with this in winter, as they don’t produce vitamin D from sunlight as readily as people with lighter skin.
Foods that are rich in Vitamin D include salmon, canned tuna, herring, sardines, cod liver oil, fortified cereals, and many dairy products, including milk. Low-fat milk is better than whole milk because of its lower fat content. A diet high in fat is known to be inflammatory.
If you have joint pain and if your physician has diagnosed you with a vitamin D deficiency, you may consider taking a dietary supplement. Most medical experts suggest a minimum daily Vitamin D supplement of between 400 and 800 I.U. daily for people who lack a healthy level of the vitamin.
Shovel Snow the Right Way
Some injuries to the back, hands, shoulders, and knees in addition to some muscle pain often come from shoveling snow. Bend your knees when removing snow, keep your back straight, and don’t twist it.
Don’t twist the shovel either, because that can cause lower back pain and strain muscles and joints. Push the snow-filled shovel, and don’t lift it. Instead, step in the direction you’re throwing the snow in order to avoid twisting your back.
Playing video games or board games for a long time without getting up and walking around can lead to tired muscles or strains in the spine, muscles, or ligaments. It’s helpful to sit with your knees at the same level as your hips or lower. Keep your forearms parallel to the ground. Sit in a chair with good back support.
Severe injury and pain during winter can be prevented. Move about carefully, eat anti-inflammatory foods, take supplements for joint and bone health when necessary, and maintain the flexibility of your body.