MOVE With Bowls – Tips for winter
– From Arthritis and Osteoporosis Victoria
The Arthritis and Osteoporosis Victoria Help Line receives many calls from people saying their arthritis gets worse during the cold winter months. Do changes in the weather really affect our muscles, bones and joints? There is some research that suggests it does due to barometric pressure.
Barometric pressure is atmospheric pressure. It is the force exerted onto a surface by the weight of the atmosphere. Barometric pressure drops when a storm system develops.
As it drops, tissues in the body may expand placing pressure on nerves that control pain signals thereby triggering pain. While we can’t control the weather patterns, we can try and attempt to minimise the impact of cold and wet weather on arthritis symptoms which may be harder to manage during this time.
For this reason, it is very important to stay active during winter to help keep joints moving and ward off stiffness.
Getting out of bed on a cold morning can be a challenge. Try to warm up before you get out of bed by:
Using a wheat bag or perhaps turning on the electric blanket
Moving your arms and legs under the doona is to get circulation going
What to eat?
Increase protein – digesting protein raises body temperature more so than carbohydrates or fats
Make the switch to porridge for breakfast
Liquid gold – soup is a nutritious, warming and filling option
Drink up – it’s just as important to stay hydrated when exercising in winter as it is in summer, even though you might not feel as thirsty, keep drinking your water and try to reduce caffeine intake
Keep your Vitamin D intake up as well as omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation
Layer your clothing to capture body heat. It also makes it easy to adjust to temperatures inside as the day warms up
Natural materials are best. Opt for hats, gloves, scarves, long johns, tights, knitted socks and jumpers made from wool, wool mixes, mohair, angora, cashmere, alpaca, silk and fleece for great warmth. Acrylic and cotton just won’t do in the winter
While the Pennant bowls season might be over it’s important to keep moving during the colder months. Even a 10-minute walk around the block can boost circulation and enhance mood. Or find one of the many bowls competitions during winter – indoor or outdoor – and keep playing!
Why not check out some art and culture while getting in your daily steps? Many museums and art galleries around the state have free admission for their permanent collections. Admiring art and enjoying an exhibition can also help get your mind off pain.
Indoor, or undercover bowls is an option at more clubs than you think
Take a pilates or dance class
Use an exercise DVD such as Move It or Lose It. You can purchase this from our online shop move.org.au or phone (03) 8531 8000 to order yours today
Get advice from your physiotherapist about how to use low cost equipment such as resistance bands, skipping rope, medicine balls and fit balls
Take the stairs instead of the lift – incidental exercise all adds up
Get wet! Find a local indoor pool. Try swimming, water exercise classes, or even just walking or running laps in the water. Remember to cool off before going outside if you have been swimming or running a warm water bath as dilated capillaries loose heat more quickly
Warm your hands – wear gloves, clap your hands and move your fingers to stimulate blood flow. Low cost hand warmers can be purchased from your local pharmacy
Be seen – it’s best to exercise outdoors during daylight, however, if you do need to exercise outdoors when it is dark, wear reflective materials to ensure that you can be seen. Also think about wearing solid, supportive shoes with good treads to avoid falls
Wearable technologies – consider using aids that can assist with motivation, measuring heart rate and counting steps such as pedometers and apps on smart phones
A winter drop in mood is common for many people and low mood is known to be linked to higher levels of perceived pain. Focusing on overcoming obstacles that stop you exercising in winter rather than just blaming the weather could be a more helpful approach. Getting active can also help overcome low mood.
Massage is a great way to increases the blood supply to cold joints and muscles.
For more information on all conditions affecting muscles, bones and joints, call our free Help Line on 1800 263 265 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Help Line is open Monday to Friday from 9.00am – 4.00pm
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