We’re in the midst of a cold winter throughout most of the country, and that means we need to be a little more deliberate with our physical activity if we want to avoid an injury. But what actions should you take and which ones should you avoid if you want to protect your ankle joints during a cold winter? In today’s blog, we take a closer look at how you can protect your joints from injury during the cold winter.
Protecting Your Foot & Ankle Joints During The Winter
The winter can be hard on your muscles and joints for a number of reasons. Here’s why the cold weather can cause problems for your joints, and what you can do to protect them.
- Inactivity – When it’s cold outside, oftentimes all we want to do is cuddle up under a blanket and watch a movie or read a book. While that’s fine here and there, if you’re doing it all the time instead of moving and exercising, your joints aren’t going to get the normal conditioning they need to function optimally. Even though it’s cold outside, force yourself to participate in a regular exercise routine 3-5 times a week.
- Activity Without Warming Up – Your body is a lot like your car in the winter. When it’s really cold outside, it takes a little while before it’s warmed up and running optimally. You wouldn’t start your car in subzero temperatures and then floor it down the road, and you shouldn’t do the same with your body. Before you go outside for a run or for physical activity, take 5-10 minutes to stretch and warm up. This will help ensure your joints are ready for activity and the temperature change. If you don’t warm up properly, your joints are more susceptible to injury.
- Healthy Meals – It’s also easier to pack on a few pounds during the cold winter months when we’re not as active, and this can put excess stress on your joints. While exercise can help you keep off this weight, so too can watching your calorie intake and ensuring you’re eating a healthy range of foods. Try to plan out your meals ahead of time so you don’t opt for unhealthy fast foods or flash frozen options at the last minute. Protect your joints this winter by avoiding weight gain.
- Dress Warm – Make sure your body is protected from the elements so that your joints can stay warm and the fluids in the area can continue to help facilitate movement. If you’re going to be outside for a workout or extended periods, it’s better to overdress and remove clothes as necessary rather than underdress. Help your joints perform optimally by keeping them warm throughout the winter.