Thanks to the El Nino weather pattern, many parts of Canada may be facing a less cold and snowy winter than normal. Still, it’s not uncommon for people tend to feel that, for one reason or another, their health declines during the winter. Though we tend to associate this with the cold, it’s usually less about the actual temperature and more about how we act when it’s colder—people are more likely to stay indoors, exercise less, and eat more. What can you do to keep feeling well when the mercury dips? Your best bet is to start making changes now that will make it easier for you to stay well this winter. Here are some common health complaints that people tend to experience in winter, and what you can do to get a head start before bad weather arrives:
Worsening Back and Joint Pain
Many people who experience chronic pain tend to feel that it intensifies when the weather gets cold. This is less likely related to the actual temperature change and ways that your behavior changes in the winter. While the weather is still warm, try to figure out what triggers your pain, and what you can do to help ease it. If, for example, taking a short daily walk helps keep pain in check, come up with a place where you can walk indoors in winter. That way, you won’t break your routine just because it’s snowy or icy outside. Knowing your own “best practices” for treating pain makes it easier to keep these habits going when it’s cold. Want this to be the last season that you’re struggling with chronic pain? With cutting-edge procedures like minimally invasive laser surgery and regenerative therapies, the Spine Institute Northwest may be able to help you find relief from back or joint pain.
Feeling Slow and Sluggish
The first time you’re stuck inside in a snowstorm can be a fun treat, having hot cocoa, snuggling beneath a blanket, and indulging in a movie marathon. By even the second or third storm though, it gets old. Sitting around the house can make you feel more tired and sluggish — and the shorter days don’t help, either. To be sure that you don’t wind up with a case of winter blahs, find an exercise that you can do in the winter. A seasonal gym membership is a good idea: Not only is it nice and toasty exercising indoors, laying out the cash for the gym incentivizes you to make sure you use it. Another option: Instead of just streaming TV shows and movies, look into the many fitness and training apps that can help you stay in shape without leaving the house.
Between being stuck indoors and the abundance of tempting holiday dishes, it’s not uncommon to put on some extra pounds during the winter months. However, extra weight negatively impacts your health in a wide range of ways, including increasing back pain. Make a plan now for how you will keep your weight under control during the holidays. Figure out which holiday treats matter the most to you, and go ahead and indulge in those. That plate of Christmas cookies at the office isn’t on your “must” list? Then you don’t need to take one. Another good idea is to plan nutritious meals that include seasonal ingredients, or if you’re going to a party, to put yourself down as the person bringing a healthy option.
While we’re talking winter, why not make a New Year’s resolution to leave chronic back pain in 2015? Let’s have 2016 be your year to get back your life! Call the Spine Institute Northwest at 888-712-0318 to learn about the special travel services that we offer to Canadian patients.