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As chilly winds and colder weather start to settle in, it can be tempting to cozy up inside and skip exercise altogether. Why should you exercise outside in fall and winter? Cold temperatures plus lack of exercise is a surefire recipe for aches and stiffness, especially for those suffering from arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, osteoporosis, and general joint pain. While many who experience these issues believe that cold weather alone worsens their pain, lack of exercise is actually a major cause. Regular activity is essential for pain management, and when it’s cold outside it’s still as important to get moving. Here are some exercises you can do this fall and winter:
Sunlight is crucial to maintaining normal vitamin D levels, which cultivates strong bones. By spending more time inside to avoid the cold, you’re limiting your exposure to sunlight, increasing the risk that your bones become weaker. Even though the air may be cold and the days may be short, aim for fifteen minutes outside a couple times a week so you get enough vitamin D. The movement will benefit your joints, while sunlight and fresh air boost your overall mood, helping to regulate pain. Walking also helps to burn calories and maintain your muscles, resulting in less strain on your joints.
Another low-impact exercise that works wonders for joint pain is yoga, which can be practiced at nearly any age. The flowing postures and breathing exercises involved in yoga build both flexibility and strength, invigorating muscles around joints while simultaneously stretching the commonly forgotten tendons, ligaments, and muscles of your body. It keeps you limber and helps you lose weight to reduce the overall strain on your joints as well. Not to mention, yoga improves your overall mood and pain tolerance by controlling stress levels.
While it’s counterintuitive that putting weighted stress on your body would help to relieve joint pain from arthritis and other afflictions, lifting weights is actually one of the most powerful ways to actively combat painful joints. When it’s done with good form, proper weight, and combined with warmups and stretching, weightlifting builds up your body in multiple ways to keep pain, swelling, and bone loss in check. Whether you’re lifting soup cans or barbells, this form of exercise increases both bone and muscle mass surrounding your joints, while simultaneously lubricating the joints too.
Looking for more ways to stay active and relieve pain this fall and winter? Schedule an appointment with ProOrtho or contact us today to learn more.