Winter in and around Adelaide can really be a beautiful time of the year. Despite the temperature dropping, we feel more of an excuse to cosy up next to a fire with a warming glass of red. But with this extra winter cosiness comes some other discomforts.
I think we can all relate to feeling more lethargic and maybe even stiff during the cooler months. But is this just in our heads, or is there a reason we actually feel like this? This question does come up during winter, especially as we work our way through more tense muscles – how does the cold weather affect your body?
You’re not dreaming – the winter blues are actually a real thing, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD can contribute to your overall feelings of lethargy, but some people can be more susceptible to this than others. While the cause is still fairly unknown, SAD has been linked to a lack of sunlight which is common during the shorter days of Autumn and Winter.
To combat symptoms, it is recommended to try get as much sunlight as possible during the cooler months. Sunlight is a great mood booster, so be sure to make the most of any small pockets of sunshine you find. It is also worthwhile to ensure you’re exercising regularly to boost your serotonin levels which will ultimately improve your mood. Also consider your diet and how the foods you eat can either improve or deplete your mood.
While cold weather hasn’t been known to exactly trigger joint pain, it has been known to amplify existing pain. This is very relevant to those who suffer from arthritis. While the exact cause of this is unknown, it is believed that cold weather constricts blood flow from your body’s extremities in an effort to keep them warm. This in turn heightens any nerve responses which can lead to increased pain.
While increased pain can mean you want to be less active, immobility can actually lead to worsened pain and stiffness in joints. So it’s important to keep moving! Keep your activity to a light walk if you’re not feeling up to much movement, and remember to wear gloves when outside to keep your hands warm. Massage is also a great way to keep your circulation moving when you’re feeling less active.
As mentioned, cooler weather constricts blood flow which can also make your muscles feel more tense than usual. If you’re usually quite active, this can be a problem as your muscles and tendons are less flexible which can result in greater risk of sprains and strains. However, this shouldn’t be a reason to give up your workout routine during winter!
If you can, try to workout indoors as the temperature can be regulated better so your muscles will warm up faster. If you’d still prefer to exercise outdoors, be sure to take extra care with your warm up routine and take care during exercise to avoid unsteady surfaces. Again, massage can also be a great remedy to ease tense muscles during winter and encourage better circulation.
Many people notice that their skin gets flaky, or their moisturiser doesn’t go as far during the winter months. This is extremely common, and happens when cold, dry air evaporates moisture in your skin faster. Your skin also produces less oil during cooler months, as your sebaceous glands are stimulated by warmth. Another factor leading to dryer than normal skin in winter can be the use of heaters. While the air is warm, it is also quite dry and and can quickly dry out your skin – especially for those in heated offices all day! We can also be less likely to drink water in winter, as we perspire less and potentially workout less. This ultimately leads to dehydrated skin too.
During winter it’s important to take extra care of your skin. We often recommend re-evaluating your skin care routine – and this applies to your body and your face. You’ll often find that you’ll need a richer moisturiser, and potentially a less astringent body wash or facial cleanser. If you’re unsure what you should be using on your skin, be sure to chat to your beauty therapist who can recommend a solution for you. Also remember to drink plenty of water. We recommend keeping a bottle of water with you at all times so you develop a habit of staying hydrated throughout the day. Lastly, consider how a massage can help your skin get the moisture it needs! Natural oils on your skin is a great way to replenish dry skin, and regular treatments provide the upkeep your skin and body needs throughout the year.
So how does the cold weather affect your body? While every body is different, I hope this article gives you a better idea as to what may be happening to your body during the cooler months. And more importantly, ways you can feel a little better! If anything, remember to keep moving, drink plenty of water, and why not consider getting a massage at Pure – your body will thank you for it!