It's the time of year when we all cosy up on the sofa, Netflix and the heating comes on and we avoid heading out in the rain. As summer activities subside, stiffness, aches and pain tend to creep up more towards the winter months...
Have a go at the following to stay healthy and prevent neck, ankle, knee, hip, shoulder and low back aches and pain...and a lot more!:
1.MOVEMENT IS MEDICINE
As cheesy as is sounds, staying active with exercise and stretching really does help to keep joints mobile, therefore keeping stiffness, aches and pain at bay. Remember to move around every 20 minutes if you're desk based, alternating sitting if standing if possible. Pop an alarm on your phone if you have a tendency to forget when you're "on a roll" with your work. Use the stairs at work instead of the lift, get off a bus stop earlier. All the little things you do will start to make a difference. Remember folk, motion is lotion 😅.
2. SWITCH UP YOUR ACTIVITIES
Ok, so it's dismal and wet outside. You normally garden, go for cycle rides or leisurely strolls.
If you're not keen on outdoor activities when the temperature plummets, try replacing some with indoor activities. What about starting martial arts, badminton, tai chi or pilates? Do you have a local swimming pool, or are their any gyms/fitness classes you can join? Do you have an indoor exercise bike or gym equipment such as dumbells, resistance bands? These days, there are many classes, apps, and online subscriptions that aid in providing structure and motivation. See a PT.
(Side note: I also provide 1:1 fitness and rehab!) Please take care and do health check prior to starting new exercise, consult your gp if necessary.
3. STAY HYDRATED
My patients and fitness clients are probably tired of hearing me telling them to stay super hydrated. But why is this so important, especially in the winter months? Drier air and central heating can increase dehydration which can affect your muscles and other tissue states, making them tighter and a potential cause of aches and pain. Which leads onto my next point.
4. WRAP UP WARM
This sounds pretty obvious but it's surprising how much we neglect our bodies when we are busy.
Combine drier air and central heating with colder weather and muscles and other tissues are more likely to tense up even further. If you have a tendency of keeping your shoulders shrugged when you're feeling cold, being organised with layered clothing, hats, gloves and scarves can prove a very welcome saviour this time of year 🙌 . Warm showers, heat wraps, hot water bottles can also help.
5. TAKE TIME OUT FOR YOUSELF, AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE
The build up to the festive season can be busy and stressful. Work deadlines before the holidays are looming, and with festivities starting as early as November, most of us find we are burning the candle at both ends. With the body being connected to the mind, psychosomatic symptoms due to stress and anxiety are common at this time of year. When booking in plans, try to avoid people pleasing and saying "yes" to everything and everyone. Remember putting yourself first at times is not selfish, but self care. I've also learnt over time that you can't pour from an empty cup.
Mindfulness practices such as meditation, breath work and yoga are thought to help your mental health. If you've been struggling, it may be worth seeing a mental health professional and/or seeking therapy.
There you have it folks. I hope that was helpful!
Stay happy and healthy 😊.
Osteopaths are healthcare professionals and therefore our role is to promote health and wellbeing. If you have any further questions or would like to know if or how seeing an Osteopath could help you, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Registered Osteopath & Fitness coach
Sports massage practitioner
My OsteoPATH to Wellness
Berrylands, Surbiton, Kingston