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Arthritis Sufferers Should Not Hybernate in Winter. Keep Moving — Here's How

exercise class with older women

Arthritis pain is challenging to deal with at any time, and it can be even more challenging during the winter months when temperatures cool down. Average temperatures during winter in Southern California hover around the 40s, and this is cool enough to exacerbate arthritis. 

Staying active is important for people with arthritis at every time of the year, including the cold winter months. Being sedentary can worsen stiffness and pain from arthritis. Exercise boosts your energy and helps your joints feel better. 

To help you keep moving during the winter months, follow these tips from pain management specialist Dr. Benjamin Taimoorazy and the team at Beverly Hills Migraine and Pain Management Institute.

Hold off until the afternoon

Overnight, when joints aren’t moving, inflammatory chemicals collect around the joint, causing the pain and stiffness you deal with first thing in the morning. 

Waiting until the afternoon to exercise gives your joints time to loosen up so you have less pain and mobility issues. 

Make comfort a priority

Walking is one of the best activities for people with arthritis, but cooler temperatures can put you off. Wearing layers is key to winter workouts, and you can peel off layers as needed. It’s best to choose breathable clothing that doesn’t trap heat and moisture so you can remain comfortable while exercising.

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.

Choose the right footwear

Whether you’re walking, jogging, or participating in aerobics, the wrong footwear and resulting lack of support can place extra strain on the joints, exacerbating arthritis. Feet are the foundation for the body, and they need the right support to ease pressure on the knees and hips. Choose shoes that offer arch and heel support, fit the shape of your foot, and are made of sturdy but flexible material. 

Also consider shoes with removable soles. This allows you to insert your own custom orthotics for optimal support and comfort.

Continue to enjoy the outdoors

Walking eases arthritis pain, and there are few better places to walk than the outdoors. While temperatures in California do cool down in winter months, fortunately, it remains warm enough to continue enjoying the outdoors. 

As long as you dress warmly, you can still enjoy hiking, walking, and biking during winter months. Protective clothing will keep your joints warm, and staying active will help ease pain and stiffness. 

Choose an activity you enjoy

You’re more likely to feel reluctant about exercising if you’re trying to force yourself to complete an activity that you don’t really enjoy. Think about physical activities you find pleasurable. Whether it's cycling, swimming, or yoga, the most important factor is that you enjoy it. Your chances of staying active are higher when you engage in something you find fun and enjoyable. 

Stay hydrated

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 to keep your joints lubricated. Dehydration can sap your energy and even have an impact on your mood.

Join a fitness group

Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever to connect with like-minded people. Joining a fitness group or an arthritis support group is an excellent way to stay motivated to exercise during the cooler months.

Joining a community of active people will encourage you to stay active yourself, and the support will help you stick to an overall healthy lifestyle. 

Exercise is just one part of comprehensive arthritis care. For all of your arthritis needs, call Beverly Hills Migraine and Pain Management at either our Beverly Hills or Encino location, or book your appointment online today.

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