How Cold Weather Affects Our Bodies

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people walking along city sidewalk during snowstorm

We’re halfway through January and Southern Ontario is experiencing its first long stretch of really cold weather. Have you ever noticed that as the weather gets colder you experience more aches and pains and your muscles feel stiffer?

More Aches and Pains?

“Cold weather causes muscles to lose more heat and contract, causing tightness throughout the body,” says Ajax chiropractor Dr. John Noble. “Many of us actually hunch ourselves up when we are cold, making muscles tighter and less mobile.”

Colder temperatures force muscles to work much harder to complete the same tasks they complete easily in milder weather. This may result in more damage to the muscle tissue and increased soreness.

This is even more evident for workers who work outside in the winter, or individuals with certain ailments. The cold weather can increase the risk of suffering from musculoskeletal injuries and can even increase the intensity of certain musculoskeletal conditions.

How Can the Cold Weather Impact Us?

If you live with an arthritic condition you might find that your symptoms may be exacerbated by cold weather conditions, which can keep you away from doing the activities you enjoy. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis may not react well to sudden weather or atmospheric changes, which may worsen symptoms.

Even without any specific conditions, most of us are very aware of how our bodies feel and move when we are cold – we may move more slowly when our muscles are tense and stiff. For those who work outside, be conscious of your working conditions. Feeling warm, safe and comfortable is important as heavy lifting and overexertion can increase the risk of injury in colder temperatures.

Here are a few things that can be done to prevent stiffness and musculoskeletal-related injuries during the winter months:

  • Maintain an active lifestyle – make sure you are doing some form of physical activity to exercise your muscles and joints.
  • Dress warmly – wear proper clothing to keep your body warm and protected from the cold.
  • Wear proper footwear – wear boots that are waterproof and warm, and have good threads to prevent falls.
  • Wear a warm hat – keeping your head warm reduces the amount of body heat that escapes from your head.
  • Reduce your time outdoors – Do not stay out in the cold for too long (if you work outside, move indoors during your breaks, if possible).

The winter months shouldn’t keep you from doing the things you love, or keep you indoors in pain.

Keep active and dress warmly, and you may be able to minimize the aches and pains of the season.

The wellness team at Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage can help you manage your condition-related pain during the winter months, and help you prevent musculoskeletal conditions if you work outdoors.

We provide our patients with more than just chiropractic and massage therapy services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so you can be at your best for work or play, every day.

To book an appointment or learn more about the chiropractic and therapeutic massage therapy services available at our clinic, call 905-427-3202.




With content from the Canadian Chiropractic Association.