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Arthritis Sufferers Should Not Hibernate in Winter. Keep Moving - Here's How

Winters in St. Louis can be tough — the shorter days, the grey skies, and the cold temperatures all conspire to force us into hibernation. But if you have arthritis, this timeout from exercise only allows the disease to progress more rapidly, which means you’ll greet the warmer months with aches and pain rather than a spring in your step.

At West County Rheumatology, under the compassionate and expert direction of Dr. Sona Komat, we specialize in the many conditions that cause joint pain with the goal of helping our patients find relief. If you suffer from joint pain, whether because of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, exercise plays a critical role since your joints are meant to move.

So, as winter bears down on us, we’ve pulled together a few tips to bring you out of hibernation for the sake of your joints.

Too cold outside?

Exercising during the cold and damp winter months has its challenges, and we understand that. Arthritis is often weather-sensitive and flares up during winter, making the thought of exercise even less enticing than usual. But if your instinct is to stay indoors and bundle up on the couch, we urge you to pop in a DVD or turn to a channel that offers guided at-home exercise instead.

You can also invest in a treadmill or stair climber, which you can set up in front of the TV or a window, allowing you to move miles without leaving the warmth of your house.

Still, get outside

Barring rain or snow, exercising out of doors during the winter not only benefits your arthritis, but your mental health as well. So invest in some outdoor exercise gear, including good shoes with sufficient tread, and take advantage of those days when the skies are clear. We suggest that you dress in layers so that you can maintain your comfort throughout. Even if you’re just walking around your neighborhood, getting out and exercising will brighten your mood and help your joints.

Try something new

Since winter closes our social circle considerably, why not expand it by trying something new, like yoga or Pilates? These forms of exercise are fantastic for beleaguered joints, and you get the added benefit of meeting new friends. If you feel intimidated starting something new, rest assured that most studios offer beginner classes that are designed to ease you into the new practice.

You can also purchase a gym membership and sign up for classes. Here again, most gyms provide beginner classes to help you figure out the different exercise equipment. As well, we can help you devise a great workout program that you can take to the gym.

Go for strength

If winter puts a damper on logging miles through movement, concentrate on strength training, which can do wonders for your joints. By beefing up the supporting tissue surrounding your joints, you take the pressure off the bones and cartilage, giving them a well-earned break.

We’d be happy to sit down with you to come up with a strength training program that will focus on your problematic joints.

The bottom line is that exercise can do a world of good for your joints any time of year, so don’t let winter be an excuse for slowing down. If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (314) 492-2323.

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