Arthritis can affect older adults all year long, but joint pain can increase in winter months. According to rheumatologists, cold and rainy weather cause a decrease in air pressure, which allows the tissues in the body to expand and increases pressure on the nerves inside joints. While we can’t control the weather, there are a few ways to prevent winter-related joint pain and stiffness. Follow these tips to protect your joints all winter long.
In the winter, it can be easy to let daily exercise fall by the wayside. However, regular exercise is necessary to keep blood flowing to the body’s joints. Low impact activity such as walking, swimming, or using a stationary bike can help older adults achieve their exercise goals and maintain joint health. Many retirement communities have indoor exercise facilities, allowing residents to get exercise without needing to venture into the cold.
Maintain strength and flexibility with physical therapy
Physical therapy is one of the most common treatments for older adults with arthritis and joint pain. Physical therapists develop individualized exercises to help seniors improve strength, balance, and coordination to improve their mobility and reduce joint pain. Physical therapy is also frequently used to help seniors recover after joint replacement surgery.
To protect your joints from the effects of colder temperatures, be sure you dress for the weather. When going outdoors, wear a scarf, hat, and mittens or gloves to maintain your core body temperature. While indoors, dress in layers so you can quickly adjust to any room’s temperature. Drinking warm beverages such as coffee, hot chocolate, or tea can also keep your body warm and relieve joint pain.
Stay safe when walking outside
Finally, it’s important to be aware of winter weather hazards like ice and snow that can pose fall risks for older adults. Be sure to wear supportive footwear with plenty of traction and take caution when walking across icy sidewalks or parking lots.