Even if you haven’t had a knee injury and don’t normally experience joint discomfort, you might find that your joints start to feel stiff and achy as the weather gets cooler in the fall and winter months. Scientists aren’t exactly clear on the correlation between dropping temperatures and increased soreness, but the shift in barometric pressure may trigger expansion in tendons, muscles, and surrounding tissues.1 This swelling can aggravate joints and augment the amount of stress placed on them. The body’s natural heat conservation processes can also reduce blood flow to the arms and legs, causing stiffness. Joint fluid may also thicken and move less freely when temperatures decrease.
Winter in snowy areas brings opportunities for seasonal activities like skiing and snowboarding, as well as necessitating physical exertion in the form of snow shoveling. Because these movement patterns aren’t habitual during the rest of the year, overuse injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints are common. Wipeouts on the slopes can result in joint dislocations and broken bones, as well as the dreaded “skier's thumb” – a ligament tear that occurs when the hand and thumb are pulled in opposite directions. Icy surfaces can cause slips and falls, which can lead to a variety of strains and fractures given the unpredictable nature of these accidents.2
Colder weather makes curling up on the couch and staying warm and cozy indoors all the more appealing, but if you have a solid workout routine in place, the best thing you can do to avoid seasonal joint woes is to keep up your physical activity throughout autumn and winter. If you’re not a regular exerciser, don’t wait until spring arrives to start moving! It’s common to slow down and spend more time inside during the chilly months, but this can lead to weight gain. Carrying extra weight puts stress on your joints, which can decrease your mobility and further discourage you from going for a walk or doing a workout. Don’t get stuck in the cycle!
Making some adjustments to your exercise routine can increase the enjoyability of working out when the weather isn’t appealing and the frozen ground isn’t forgiving. You might run on a treadmill or use an exercise bike instead of heading outside for a jog. Winter is also a good time to opt for strength workouts that emphasize weightlifting over aerobics, as building up your bone density and muscle strength can help reduce your risk of injury. Another great way to switch up your training? Take advantage of the snowfall in your area and do some exploring on snowshoes or cross-country skis. See some sights and spend some refreshing time in nature while raising your heart rate!
Other strategies to mitigate joint aggravation and prevent injuries related to seasonal activities include dressing warmly, avoiding long periods of inactivity, making sure to warm up properly before exercise and cool down well afterwards, incorporating frequent stretching – or gentle movement like yoga or tai chi – into your routine, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and staying hydrated.
Supplements that support bone and joint health can help fill in any nutrient deficits for comprehensive care. NatureWise offers Multivitamins with Joint Support for men and women that contain a clinically studied form of collagen to promote joint mobility, flexibility, and comfort as well as 22 essential vitamins and minerals for heart health, immune system support, healthy energy levels, and stress management.* Curcumin, a popular supplement for joint health and inflammation regulation, is most beneficial when standardized to 95% curcuminoids and combined with a black pepper extract like BioPerine – which is exactly how NatureWise Curcumin is formulated.*
For bone density support and relief from muscle cramps, there’s NatureWise Magnesium, which combines bioavailable magnesium derived from seawater with olive oil for an effective, all-natural supplement.* NatureWise Enhanced Collagen Peptides contain hydrolyzed type I and III collagen to encourage the body’s collagen development processes and promote strong connective tissues and healthy hair, nails, and skin.* And when the short days of winter threaten to bring your spirits down, reach for NatureWise Vitamin D3 5,000 IU for healthy bones and muscles and support for a positive mood and a robust immune system.*
Don’t let stiff joints and muscle aches stop you from making the most of the great outdoors and enjoying seasonal activities during the colder months this year! With a plan in place and the right supplements in your corner, you can successfully navigate the fall and winter seasons with healthy joints and strong bones.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.