Men and women’s joints and muscles ache more in the colder weather. There have been studies done recently that have shown a rise in overall aches and pain in men and women that are older. Also, with patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis with a connection between joint pain and weather conditions.
Although it is more comfortable to be outside in the warmer months, it is important to continue to be active in the winter months as you can prevent aches and pains. A person can lose muscle strength and mass as well a decreased amount of bone density in a matter of two weeks without exercise. Factors like diet, exercise, and mood all have an influence on pain perception. Individuals who are overweight are more prone to joint pain which can cause injury. To help take the pressure off of the joints, a weight-loss program would be beneficial as well as regular exercise which can reduce inflammation, stiffness and pain. Exercise will also help to improve metabolism and blood flow through muscles and joints.
Doing squats, sit-ups and push-ups involve large muscles such as the legs, arms and torso. This type of exercise is called resistance exercise and is important for muscle and bone strength. Bones adapt to the stimulus of repetitive load bearing like muscles which makes them stronger and less inclined to injury. This is mainly important for older individuals because they can get enough stimulation for maintenance of muscle and bone strength through daily tasks and home workouts.
The sun exposes the body to vitamin D, which is healthy for bones and joints. Vitamin D supplements are good to take in the winter when daytime hours are limited and it provides muscle function, nerve growth and bone mineralization. If getting sun exposure most days, the recommended daily dose of vitamin D for adults is 200 to 600 IU (international units). You can reduce the risk of bones fractures and improve muscle strength in older people by taking daily supplements of vitamin D. Foods such as, fatty fish (sardines, herring, and mackerel), milk, margarine and soy drinks that are fortified with vitamin D, all have vitamin D in them. It is hard to get vitamin D through diet though. Dietary sources are not sufficient in providing enough vitamin D for the body. That is why supplementation is best for where there is limited exposure to the sun in the winter as sunlight is the most important source.
Glucosamine can be found in crustaceans and chondroitin sulphate can be found in the cartilage of animal bones. Both of these supplements help to improve joint function by providing nourishment to cartilage. They decrease the friction produced between the articulating surfaces of the bones by making the joint smoother.
Heat therapy such as warm baths and showers can help when you are feeling pain. Especially in the morning as it will make a difference if you are experiencing levels of pain and stiffness. The body improves blood flow making movement easier and increases elasticity of the tissue when it is warm. The brain’s perception of pain is reduced by the neural pathways when it is activated by warming up the body.