Taking extra care in the cold, helps improve your arthritis

Everyone experiences problems during the winter, but the weather is even worse and painful when suffering with arthritis. Coping with this sometimes debilitating disease can be more challenging when the weather is cold, as the joints get stiff and hurt. However, the winter cold shouldn’t keep you indoors as when walking outside during the winter it has many health benefits for arthritis patients. Besides burning calories you can feel more positive and motivated. Additionally, physically inactivity can sometimes increase pain. Whereas, exercise helps keep joints moving, strengthens your muscles connected to joints, preserves your bone health and improves overall health and fitness. During the cold weather our body can sometimes become heavier as our bodies start to crave and want warmth making, fat-building food to help keep us warm. But maintaining a healthy diet throughout winter to control excess weight, which can put undue strain on your sore joints is key to managing your arthritis. If you feel it is too cold outside then it is sensible to stay indoors and if you do have to go out it is sensible to dress in layers, instead of relying on just a single layer of clothing or a heavy woollen jumper. As it is better to wear extra layers and thermals instead of taking pain relief if prescribed as this will help control your pain and allow you to move more freely. It is also well known that people tend to become less active during the winter which leads to frequent painful flare-ups of arthritis. So to avoid this it is best to perform regular exercise and to always keep yourself mobile and moving around. Also, if you are going out dress from head to toe in several layers and if driving preheat your car before getting in it and ensure your home is always kept warm. Another suggestion is to drink warm and hot drinks such as tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. It is also important to keep moving and exercising the affected joints before going out into the cold weather. As exercise will not only just loosen your stiff joints, but it will also help prevent winter weight gain that puts more stress on your painful joints. Tips for this are as follows: * Always try and keep your aching joints warm during the cold/winter * Have available and always use hot packs or warm baths * Alternate cold and hot packs every 10 minutes * Do not strain or overdo any exercise * Be careful whilst walking on slippery ground, such as snow or ice * Always take and have a healthy, balanced diet * Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables

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