As far as our body and it’s functioning is concerned there are a lot of myths that have been fed to us from an early age with the arrival of the cold winds. Do any of these actually hold true? What really goes on inside our body with drops in temperature and changes in the weather?
Does winter cause an increase in muscle aches and joint pain?
For some of us who suffer from arthritis will definitely agree that come winter, the pain in our joints gets worse and some of us can even predict if it’s about to rain purely based on how our joints react to the change in climate. Seldom are we wrong in that aspect! But do we really know and understand what goes on within us?
Some research studies do agree that a drop in temperature increases episodes of joint pains and muscle aches. Imagine that our bodies are engulfed in a bubble. Each of us have an individual bubble covering us. Let’s call this bubble “barometric pressure”, which basically translates to the weight the atmosphere, exerts upon us. With a drop in temperature there is thinning of this bubble, which allows the fluid within our joints and cartilages to expand hence increasing the pressure within our joints to cause an increase in pain and discomfort.
Sniffles… Not just a cute word!
As kids, Mum always warned us not to go out in the cold without a warm jacket, or not to go to bed with wet hair or to immediately dry ourselves off when we got home after being drenched in the rain. But can we really fall sick just because we got wet in the rain or stayed out for too long in the cold wind? If this were completely true, wouldn’t people living in Alaska or Quebec be riddled with sniffles and flus all year round?!
Research says that within all of us there resides a virus known as rhino virus. When our bodies are warm, healthy and comfortable, it remains dormant. If we over-expose ourselves to cold and rain, the virus activates itself due to a drop in our body temperature. There are some studies that suggest that the virus activates itself when the temperature within our noses drops by 5degrees! Well Mum, you weren’t completely wrong!
So what can we do to keep ourselves warm and active???
- Keep warm: If you plan on stepping out, make sure you bundle yourself up really well from your head to your toes.
- Comfort food??? Maybe not! All of us crave for that ginormous piece of warm, gooey chocolate cake, or that melting grilled cheese sandwich. Consuming foods high in carbohydrates have the opposite effect of comforting and cause a major derailment of our body’s energy levels. Food choices like soups, green leafy veggies, citrus fruits and foods high in proteins and low in carbohydrates and saturated fats help maintain our energy levels and a good source of energy and nutrition for our muscles and joints.
I always did wonder why I felt like hibernating throughout the winter season! Sorry chocolate, not this year!
- Hydration: Most of us don’t really feel that thirsty or the need to consume water but that is one of the leading causes of muscle cramps that we blame on low temperatures. Keep yourself well hydrated this season. Drink lots of water, fresh fruit juices and assortment of teas. Keep your caffeine intake limited to one cup/day. Being well hydrated provides a good lubrication for our muscles and aids in better functioning within our joints as well.
- Keep it moving! As much as we love our blankies during the winter season, it isn’t advisable to stay hidden beneath them. Light, moderate aerobic exercise helps keep our joints limber and supple and helps combat aches, pains and cramps. If exercising outside in the wind and rain isn’t your forte, come join us for Pilates. With classes to suit everybody, including lunch hour classes, let’s keep our body’s moving and healthy this winter season!
Book an appointment with us to get a move on and face the winter blues head on!
We wish you an active, healthy and pain free life!