How does the cold affect our muscles and joints?

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December 30, 2019
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December 30, 2019

How does the cold affect our muscles and joints?

The winter chill is often associated with an increase in aches and pains for many people, particularly in the joints, but also in the muscles.

Folklore suggests the cold makes pain worse – but there is actually little research into the weather’s effects.

Recent innovative research called, ‘Cloudy’ has shown that; damp and windy days with low pressure increased the chances of experiencing more pain than normal by about 20%. Cold, damp days also made pain worse.

Conflictingly, there was no association with temperature alone, or rainfall. The results are somewhat inconclusive because they vary greatly. This is largely because pain is subjective and it’s difficult to isolate a particular cause.

How we can prevent aches in winter.

There are some things that can help reduce pain during the colder months. Exercise also helps to improve metabolism and blood flow through muscles and joints, which can reduce inflammation, stiffness and pain.

Many people tend to be more active in the warmer months when the weather is pleasant and it’s comfortable to be outside. It’s important to continue exercise into winter as a reduction in physical activity in winter for more than two weeks results in loss of muscle strength and mass as well as reduced bone density. This is particularly important for older individuals. You can get enough stimulation for maintenance of muscle and bone strength through daily tasks and gentle home workouts.

 

Best wishes, David

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