One of the most frequent questions I get asked around this time of year is:
“With the weather getting colder how do I prevent my joints from stiffening up and my mobility slowing down?"
What is crucial about this type problem is understanding “why” this happens.
Let me explain…
The joints in the body are lubricated and nourished when we move. As we grow older (and as the weather gets COLDER) it makes keeping active more challenging which can lead to joint and muscle stiffness.
The other important factor to be aware of is that as we grow older the fluid that keeps the joints of the body supple reduces AND the smooth cartilage that cushions the joints thins leading to joint stiffness.
Being dehydrated, not taking enough exercise and EVEN being too stressed have all been proven to lead to reduced mobility.
In order to reduce stiffness follow these simple tips that you can easily make part of your daily routine:
1. Stay Hydrated: one thing that a lot of people overlook but which makes a big difference to how you feel and how you move is how hydrated you are. Take on water regularly through the day to help your body function optimally.
2. Keep Active: this is one which can become difficult if you are experiencing pain but any movement will help lubricate and reduce stiffness in the body. You can try go going for a walk or even just practicing some chair exercises. Keep it little and often!
3. Have A Hot Bath: having a soak in the bath helps to soothe aches and pains by increasing blood flow to areas of the body which need it. The warm temperature of the water will give the tissues of the body more elasticity and will help the mind relax.
4. Stretch: this can be anything from static stretches done from a chair or attending a weekly yoga class. Stretching can be very therapeutic and will keep you mobile. Stretching before bed can help you get a much better nights sleep.
5. Avoid Long Periods of Sitting: try to break up periods of sitting by standing up every 30 minutes. After 30 minutes of being in the same position the ligaments, muscles and tendons of the body become “hypoxic” which means they suffer from a lack of oxygen. This causes aching and joint stiffness.
So there you have it the 5 simple ways to prevent stiffness from slowing you down and stopping you from being active and mobile. The human body can adapt and strengthen no matter what stage of life you are at.
Don’t accept stiffness as part of your daily life and do nothing about it because it is likely to worsen and reduce your mobility if ignored.
P.S. If you are experiencing stiffness which is affecting your ability to move freely without pain then you are well within your rights to seek out specialist help and advice for this. Click here to schedule a call with a chartered physiotherapist who specialises in: “helping people aged 50+ live a more active, mobile and independent life all at a time and place that suits them” or just email by clicking here or call on 020 3488 2698.
By Edward Thompson - Chartered Physiotherapist & Founder of Instant Physio