“Winter is Coming”..… the famous quote from Game of Thrones has got me thinking about how to keep fit and injury free this winter. The recent freezing cold weather feels as if winter is definitely on it’s way! The cold weather always seems surprise everyone, and all those summer exercises I was meant to have done are out of the window.
Not anymore! This article will give some tricks and tips to keep fit and injury free through these cold wintery months, writes Reading Chiropractor Aggie Farlow-Hoare.
This may seem obvious! However, the change in temperature can have an impact on our joints. Synovial fluid located between the joints acts like a fluid cushion to reduce friction when moving that joint, as it gets colder the synovial fluid thickens which may cause stiff and ‘creaky’ joints. By keeping your joints warm and moving well this will prevent any potential joint injuries.
Layering up is the best way to keep warm – wearing multiple layers, jumpers, coat, hat, gloves and scarf when you are out and about will protect you from the cold. When around the house slippers, base layers and even tights under trousers will give you the extra warmth compared to one layer of clothing. Look out for fabrics such as wool, fleece and cotton which are both breathable and warm.
With the cost of bills going up putting on the heating isn’t always the easiest thing. Following a TikTok trend, using a terracotta pot, 2 bricks and tealight candles is a simple home-made heater that doesn’t burn through your electricity bills. Simply place some candles on a tray or plate, elevate the terracotta pot with bricks and light your candles. The heat from the candles is absorbed into the pot which causes it to become hot. I have tried this at home, and it definitely makes a difference to your room temperature.
WARNING – never leave candles burning at night as risk of a fire!
Trying to keep fit during the winter months seem a lot harder compared to the summer. Colder weather and shorter days make finding time to exercise sometimes impossible! Here are some tips for keeping active.
Home workout to keep fit and injury free this winter– YouTube home exercise videos became one of the most popular ways of retaining exercises during lockdown so lets bring them back! When motivation is low, it seems like a lot of effort to travel to your local gym. Try out one of these videos to see how you get on instead. The Body Coach (Joe Wicks) has a variety of work outs from beginners to more advance workouts with and without equipment. These videos also vary in length from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. This makes it easier to squeeze in before or after work. Follow the link below for his YouTube page:
Walking and/or jogging – Cardiovascular endurance is important for overall health. It helps your heart and lungs to work efficiently, your muscles, ligaments and tendons to become stronger and lowers risk of disease. Only 30 minutes of cardio exercise can help improve endurance and lower risk of injury. With darker mornings and evenings wearing bright and reflective clothing can make it easier for cars to see you especially along pathways which are not so well lit. Try running with a friend or partner as you can both motivate each-other!
When starting to exercise you may feel some muscular stiffness as a result. This is usually normal as shows that the training is getting you stronger. However, if the pain does not resolve then do come and consult one of our Reading Chiropractors or Reading Osteopaths who can thoroughly examine the cause of the problem.
I get it too….. no way does ‘cold water’ sound inviting! However, it’s become a very popular and social activity that runs throughout the year. Research has found that when you submerge your face into cold water messages are sent through the parasympathetic nervous system which lowers heart rate and reduces inflammation. Chemicals such as serotonin and noradrenaline/norepinephrine are release which is believed to turn on pain-inhibiting pathways to the brain.
One of the major benefits of cold-water swimming is the instant mood booster. After taking the cold plunge your body is rewarded with endorphins – your body’s natural pain relief – which helps trigger a positive feeling in your body.
The cold water also helps to boost your immune system, with the sudden change in temperature your body’s white blood cell count increases as your body is forced to react to the sudden change. Over time these adaptation changes have a positive effect on your body when activating it’s defensive response.
Good circulation is needed for healthy hair and skin. Cold water forces blood to the surface of your skin to help keep your extremities warm but it also helps flushes out your arteries, capillaries and veins. Overall causing your heart to pump blood more efficiently through your vessels and suppling the whole body with oxygen and nutrients through your blood.
Cold water swimming may not be your cup of tea but I hope I have convinced you with these amazing health benefits!
It’s easy to be drawn to comfort food during the winter, my favourite is a big bar of chocolate! This is the best time to get your vegetables into your diet. Vegetables such as brussels sprouts, cabbage and turnips thrive in the winter months and are great for soups, casseroles, and roast dinners.
Beetroots contain an amino acid called betaine which has a positive effect on your mood by increasing serotonin levels. They are also delicious in a leafy salad.
Kale is another vegetable which thrives in the cooler weather so easily available at your local supermarket. Delicious kale contains a variety of vitamins from vitamin A, C and K. Kale also includes folate and B vitamin which is essential for brain development. To find at more about each vitamin and vegetable recipes and they benefits have a look at our blog:
Remember the lovely summer with the sun high in the sky? A sunny sky means high Vitamin D levels in our blood stream. Vitamin D is essential for healthy muscles and bones. I advised for people to take Vitamin D supplements during the winter months. A severe lack of Vitamin D can lead to bone disorders such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. This is also known as soft bone disease.
In the UK between October and early March our bodies can not make Vitamin D from sunlight. The sun is too low in the sky! Vitamin D can be found in lots of food types. However it’s best to take Vitamin D supplements during the autumn and winter months. The recommended dose of vitamin D is 10 micrograms per day. There are products providing up to 25 micrograms per days, however when trying something new best to start with the recommended amount.
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Reflex Spinal Health are a passionate, dynamic spinal health team. We are committed to help as many in our community of Reading, Berkshire and South Oxfordshire to enjoy the vitality of great health, to reach their health goals and feel truly alive! Our chiropractors and osteopaths offer the highest standards of care in a superb environment.