Cold Weather, Exercise, and Injuries

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Ready to exercise outside or do you feel to achy when the weather changes? Read on for a few tips about exercising outdoors and why rains bring pains.

Cold Weather, Exercise, and Injuries

Do you know the saying, "under the weather" and "aches and pains, coming rains"? Turns out, there's truth to those. The reason, according to the most popular theory, is that that atmospheric pressures that accompany rain, and other weather anomalies, affect nerve endings that may have been damaged due to injury. Atmospheric pressures push on our bodies the same way it does everything else, and if the pressure outside our bodies drop, gasses in our bodies can expand, specifically the gasses that have dissolved in fluid around your joints and tendons.

Now for cold weather, it is believed that the cold causes muscles to tense and those contractions similarly aggravate damaged nerve endings.

Now when choosing to go outside for exercise during cold snaps, a few things are important. First, be mindful if you're feeling joint pain because of weather cues. This is a sign of inflammation in your joints. You can eat healthy foods to help with inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids, like ones found in salmon and nuts, and Vitamin K and Vitamin C all help with reducing inflammation.

Next, it's about layering and protecting the extremities (our heads are where we lose the most heat!). Whatever the temp is outside, your body is always working to keep at a steady 98.6 degrees.

What might be "risky" weather is cold plus wind or rain, making it harder for the body to regulate its temperature, and when wet, our bodies have their heat drawn away 25 times faster than when just exposed to air. High winds actually push moisture through our clothing and wisps away the nice warm air layer we created with those layers of clothing.

If you think you're getting too cold outside, here are some warning signs. The first sign of frostbite is numbness, then tingling or burning. If you are experiencing hypothermia, shivering and confusion are the worst signs. The risk of frostbite is less than five percent when the air temperature is above 5 F (minus 15 C), but if the wind chill is below -18 F (minus 27 C), frostbite can occur on exposed skin in 30 minutes or less.

And always remember, you still sweat in cold weather so hydration is very important. You should drink water before, during, and after your workout even if you don't feel thirsty.

And for some interesting news floating around right now, shivering may actually burn calories (saying 10 minutes of shivering burns as many calories as an hour of exercise). But shiver with caution.

Feb 7, 2014
Ryan Newhouse - health writer, MyNetDiary

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