Coping with Aches and Pains This Winter

Winter can be a great time. It’s exciting, a lot is going on, and the world can be beautiful. But, there’s also a lot to do. You might be busy at work, there’s Christmas shopping to attend to, and you might have other events to plan. You might find yourself suffering from frequent coughs, colds and winter bugs, some of us suffer from seasonal depression and on top of all this, you might find that you struggle with aches and pains, you get injured more easily and that your joints crack and creak when you move. These winter aches and pains are, unfortunately, part of life. You might find that you ache when you wake up in the morning. That your joints are stiff and take time to warm up. You might become injured more easily, and constant dull aches might make it harder to sleep. Most of us find that when it’s cold outside, we ache more after gym sessions and that our bodies take longer to recover and get back to normal. But, while these aches and pains are normal, there’s plenty that you can do to reduce them, making it easier to cope. 

Take Care Of Your Mental Health
Our bodies and minds work together. While you might assume that aches and pains are your bodies domain, sometimes our mental health has physical symptoms. You might find that you ache more when you are depressed, or your mood is low. Many of us suffer from seasonal depression during the winter months, and it’s not uncommon to find that when you are feeling blue, your body feels tired and achy, especially if you are struggling to sleep and you aren’t giving it time to recover and recharge. So, start taking care of your mental health to reduce winter aches and pains. Speak with people about your worries and concerns, get as much light as you can, or even invest in a seasonal depression light. Take mental health days if you need them, and speak to your doctor if you are really suffering. 

Use Heat as a Remedy
Heat is an excellent remedy for routine aches and pains. A hot water bottle can be a considerable comfort for muscles aches and joint pain. Apply it gently when you are sat down, but try to get up and regularly move to avoid stiffness. On the other hand, if you have any swelling, a cold compress can be equally effective at reducing it and easing your symptoms. 

Practice Relaxation Techniques
One of the biggest problems that we have with aches and pains is that they are frustrating. We get annoyed and jittery when we can’t get comfortable. This can increase blood pressure and make things worse. So, try to relax. Practice meditation, deep breathing and other relaxation techniques. Spend time doing things that you find relaxing, like reading or listening to music. 

Stick to a Strength Training Program
The stronger your body is, the healthier it will be, and the less likely you are to be overcome with winter aches and pains. But, when we ache, it can be tempting to avoid the gym and move as little as possible. Stick to a strength training program, but make some changes and take things easy when you need to. Speak to a trainer, and take your time, but don’t give up.

Try Swimming
If you want to stick to an exercise program that boosts strength, increases flexibility and gives you a cardio workout, you can’t beat swimming. It’s easy on your joints and limbs, gives you a full-body workout and stretches out any aches and pains. 

Never Forget to Stretch
Whether you are strength training, swimming, running or working out in another way, you can’t afford to forget to stretch. Take your time before you start your workout to stretch your limbs and warm your body up slowly. Then, cool down afterwards to reduce the risk of injuries in the hours that follow. 

Practice Yoga
Like swimming, yoga is perfect for winter exercise. You can do it at home using videos online. Practised first thing in the morning yoga is a brilliant way to warm your body up and get it ready for the day. Practised late at night it can ease aches, pains and tension and help you to sleep. It can be gentle and relaxing, but it will still give your muscles a workout, improve your posture and sometimes even get your heart beating faster. 

Indulge in Rest Days
Rest days are essential in the winter. Not just for your body, but for your mind too. Indulge in days where you lie on the sofa underneath a duvet reading your favourite book or binging on your favourite boxsets on Netflix. Eat chocolates and cake and order takeout for dinner. Let your body rest, give it a break and really let yourself enjoy it. Winter is a busy time for most of us, so don’t punish yourself for relaxing when you need it. 

Go for a Walk
There’ll be days when you’ve got a workout planned in but you just don’t feel like it. Your body is tired. You feel a little blue. You don’t want to go to the gym. You might have had a tough week at work or a week with less sleep than you might have liked. But, exercise is a great mood boost. It will make you feel better, and could even ease your aches and pains. So, at least go for a walk. Enjoy the fresh winter air, get some sunlight and feel good about your efforts. 

Mind over matter can be more powerful than you might think. Meditation has so many benefits, one of which is easing aches and pains. Spend a few minutes every day practising meditation, and you’ll soon feel better. Or at least more in control. 

Consider Pain Management
Some pains come and go. We expect to feel aches and pains after a leg day at the gym, and we know that it will pass in time. But, when pain doesn’t pass, it can become something that makes day to day life harder and ruins our enjoyment of the season. So don’t put up with it. If you are in pain, do something about it. Consider pain management options like medication, sports massage or CBD oils. You might wonder is cbd legal in the uk? But, the information is clear if you want to research first. 

Enjoy a Massage
Massage is a great way to ease any pain. A professional sports massage can be incredibly effective at relieving tension in your muscles and reducing swelling and pain. But, when we haven’t got time, massaging your own limbs, or asking someone else to have a go can still be a big help. 

Get an Early Night
Sleep is when your body recharges. If your body is tired and achy, get an early night to give it the best chance to feel better. Sleep will help to reduce any swelling and tension and will give your muscles a chance to recover. However, when we’re in pain, it can be hard to sleep. Constant aches make it hard to doze off, and sharp pains might wake you up if you do. Try pain management options, applying heat and even taking a hot bath to help you to sleep. Explore different options until you find what makes you feel comfortable. 

Elevate Your Legs
Elevating your legs can boost your circulation, reduce swelling and ease aches and pains. Lifting your legs for an hour or so before bed can help you to sleep, and it gives you a great excuse to rest. Lie on the sofa or bed with your feet raised above your heart every day for the best effects. Compression leggings socks can also be helpful. 

Keep Warm
If the cold is making your muscles and limbs ache, find ways to keep warm. Wrap up warm when you are out with light layers and waterproofs, keep moving, trying not to stand still. Then, make sure that your home is warm, free from damp and comfortable. If damp at home is an issue, insulation, replacement window seals and a dehumidifier can help. 

Speak to Your Doctor
If your aches and pains are relatively mild, they come after exercise or a long time on your feet, or they fade throughout the day, as you warm up and get moving, then there’s usually nothing to worry about. They are the same aches as you’d get in the summer, simply intensified by the cold weather. Unfortunately, these aches only get worse as we get older, and while we might be able to improve our symptoms and reduce pain, they might never entirely leave us. But, not all aches and pains are normal. If home remedies, rest and over the counter pain relief aren’t helping, don’t just assume that it’s normal winter aches and pains. Speak to your doctor in case there is an underlying condition causing your symptoms. 

Embrace Winter and Look Forward to Spring
Winter doesn’t last forever. In no time at all, the sun will be shining and the temperature will be warmer. So try to enjoy winter as much as you can. Enjoy the festivities that it brings, knowing that it won’t last for long. 

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