A healthy lifestyle is important, regardless of the season, but as cold weather approaches, there are particular concerns to keep in mind, especially for those suffering from joint pain. This year, we have the added stress of protecting ourselves, and each other, from Covid-19.

Unfortunately, a major disadvantage of Covid-19 is that older people and people with certain pre-existing conditions are more susceptible to contracting the disease and typically experience a more challenging recovery. However, with some adjustments to regular activities, it is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the same time. Here are some helpful reminders to optimize your health and well-being this winter.

Keep warm and keep moving –
Some people report increased joint pain in cold weather. This likely happens because muscles, tendons, and surrounding tissues expand when barometric pressure decreases. This pain and discomfort can be especially problematic for people with arthritis.

Exercise is essential in strengthening muscles to support the joints. Since indoor gyms will likely continue to be closed for the foreseeable future, outdoor exercise is the answer. Layer up to keep warm – it will keep your muscles from stiffening up. Choose an exercise that is appropriate for your joint health — activities that require a smaller range of motion and are lower impact might be most appropriate. And don’t forget exercise basics — warm-up and cool down slowly, and take the time to stretch, once you have returned to your residence.

Eat healthfully –
Choose foods that reduce inflammation and that are high in Vitamin D like healthy oils, fish and vegetables. These foods are commonly found in the Mediterranean diet. This will help to keep joint pain at bay. In addition, prioritizing healthy, whole foods, is also an important strategy for maintaining a healthy weight and optimizing overall health. Embracing a healthy diet is an important foundation for keeping your joints healthy and your immune system in good shape. The healthier you are, the less susceptible you will be to Covid-19.

Get some sun –
Exposure to sunlight, especially morning light, has many benefits. It helps us sleep better, improves our mood and supports strong bones. To protect yourself from Covid-19, consider leaving the house to exercise early in the morning. There will be fewer people on the streets so you will have more space for yourself to enjoy the outdoors. Consider running errands earlier in the morning as well. Many establishments are prioritizing access for individuals who may be at higher risk.

Embrace a regular sleep schedule –
Don’t overlook the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep helps our bodies repair damaged tissue and contributes to maintaining a strong immune system. Regularly sleeping well leads to improved overall health, including better memory, mental functioning, and mood. If you are having trouble sleeping, reconsider your sleep hygiene practices; keep your sleep routine consistent, put all screens away an hour before bed, dim the lights, and make time to relax.

Relaxation techniques –
This pandemic has been stressful for everyone. Unfortunately, stress can increase our chances of becoming ill. If you have not done so already, incorporate some relaxation techniques into your day. Meditation, breathing exercises, and creating art are examples of activities that make us feel at ease and improve our overall well-being.

Regular medical appointments –
Remember, cold weather and Covid-19 are not reasons to cancel or postpone your medical appointments. Duval Orthopedic Clinic is taking all of the necessary precautions. If you feel hesitant, please call our reception to discuss your concerns. We will do our best to accommodate you.