The cold weather and dark days of winter can tempt you to stay bundled up at home, but if you have arthritis, this could be an invitation to more pain and misery. When you’re not active, arthritis stiffness exacerbates. Your range of motion shrinks more.
Exercise increases your energy levels and helps your joints feel better, even in winter. Make exercise happen in the winter with these tips from Dr. Johnathan Leibowitz.
Save exercise for the afternoon
The day has had a chance to warm up and so have you. Joint pain and stiffness can be worse in the morning after a night of stillness. Any pain meds you take will also have had time to kick in.
Keep warm, but not too warm
Layers are a smart way to dress for winter workouts. You need the warmth of many layers at first to keep your joints from suffering too much. As you move more, you can peel off the layers to just the right degree. Synthetic work-out wear is best, rather than cotton, which can trap moisture but not heat.
Make sure you take care of your hands and feet, too. Gloves and warm socks are a must in keeping the small joints of the fingers and toes from suffering. Your ears benefit from muffs or a close-fitting beanie and a scarf protects your nose.
Wear the right shoes
If you’re walking or jogging, wear supportive running shoes. Traction is also important when you’re dealing with winter conditions. Ice and snow can make you lose your footing and fall. Trail shoes may be a good option or buying special cleats that you strap onto shoes to give you stability on icy roads.
Or, go inside
Inside is always an option if it’s just too cold or icy. If you have access to a fitness center with a treadmill or indoor track, that’s the perfect activity option. However, shopping malls and warehouse stores also provide a lot of room for walking laps and getting in some activity.
Be creative with your movement
When you have arthritis, low-impact activity is appealing. Walking is a stand-by, but so is cross country skiing and snowshoeing. These sports are a fun way to enjoy wintry conditions but don’t put a lot of pressure on your joints.
In winter, you may not think you’re losing fluids because you’re not sweating as much as you might in the summer. But, it’s important to stay hydrated so your joints can lubricate. Dehydration can zap your energy and even affect your mood.
Stay in touch
Make sure you let someone know where you’re going and carry a phone, just in case. It’s best to follow a familiar route, too. When it’s cold you don’t want to be trapped out in an area where it’s hard to find your way back, especially if arthritis pain flares.
While exercise can keep arthritis pain at bay, it’s not a cure. For comprehensive arthritis care and management, consult with Dr. Johnathan Leibowitz. His goal is to help men and women in the Borough Park area of Brooklyn, New York achieve and maintain a high quality of life. Call the office or schedule online today.