As the days get shorter and the temperatures start to drop, many people begin to feel an increase in muscle tension. While this is a natural response to cold weather, it can often lead to discomfort and reduced muscle function. In this blog, we’ll discuss the science behind how cold weather affects muscle feeling and function, and give tips for how to keep your muscles feeling well in the colder weather.
How Does Winter Weather Affect the Body?
When the temperature drops and humidity levels increase, our bodies are forced to work harder in order to stay warm. This increased effort causes muscles to tense up, which can lead to a decrease in flexibility and mobility. Additionally, when we shiver, our muscles contract quickly and repeatedly at random intervals; this repeated contraction can cause muscle fatigue and soreness.
The decrease in temperature also causes our blood vessels to constrict, reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients that reach our muscles. This can lead to a decrease in muscle performance and strength, as well as increased fatigue. Finally, cold weather can cause an increase in pain sensitivity, which means even minor aches and pains may be exacerbated.
Tips for Keeping Your Muscles Feeling Good in Winter Weather
Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep your muscles functioning well in the cold weather:
- Protect yourself from the cold - Wear layers and dress appropriately for winter conditions.
- Exercise regularly - Regular exercise can help increase blood flow to your muscles, which can reduce stiffness and soreness.
- Stretch - Stretching can help relieve tension in your muscles and increase flexibility.
- Drink plenty of water - Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps so it’s important to stay hydrated in the cold weather.
- Use a heating pad or hot water bottle - Applying heat to tense muscles can help reduce stiffness and soreness.
Don't let the temperature stop you from enjoying all the fun of the season. By following these simple tips, you can keep your muscles feeling good even in cold weather.
If aches and pains persist through the winter even after using these tips, visit one of our iRISE Spine and Joint locations to speak with a professional about effective pain management solutions. Call (888) 966-9750 to schedule an appointment.