Knees, in particular, are excellent barometers. However, far from being an excuse to stop exercising, the pain can in fact be reduced, and mobility improved, by doing more exercise.
We have to insert a massive disclaimer at this point: if you have an acute or new injury, get it seen to by a professional. What we’re talking about in this blog is the dull joint ache that is associated with damp and cold weather. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, you’re lucky and don’t suffer from it.
If you do, though, then now is the time of year that it’ll be flaring up for you – and with the prospect of months of discomfort looming, what can you do?
Here is the Northern Bootcamp Guide to help avoid joint pain in the winter:
Keep moving! Moving lubricates and nourishes your knees, so, as always, more exercise is better.
Drink plenty of water. Stands to reason, but if your joints dry out then flexibility is reduced and wear and tear increases. Water is an amazing lubricant, so drink plenty of it.
Learn the difference between good and bad pain. You should be able to work through mild discomfort, and the symptoms will reduce. However, as above, if you experience any acute or long-lasting pain then you should seek expert advice immediately.
Increase your strength. Strong muscles will help protect your joints, so stay strong and your joints will benefit.
Warm up first, stretch after. Stretching is vital before and after exercise, but an active warm-up – something that’ll make you sweat – is more important.
Keep warm – wear a neoprene strap on your knee if needed.
Conversely, use ice to treat your joints if they are sore immediately after exercise. 15 minutes’ worth of icing a knee is usually enough to help reduce inflammation.
Eat well. We preach this very strongly at boot camp, and it helps here, too. Avoid sugary foods, and foods high in saturated fat, to help reduce inflammation in your joints.