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Are you a fan of winter’s cool temperatures?  Or you are counting down the days till the warmer months?

For many of us, it may feel more difficult to keep up healthy habits during winter. However, alignment, posture, movement, rest and our environment play an important role in maintaining our musculoskeletal health all year round.

We know it can be challenging to stay motivated during the winter months, so the Mandurah Health team have shared 5 simple tips to help keep you active and promote healthy function of your nervous system, muscles, bones and joints:

1. Plan for Progress, Not Perfection:

Creating good habits for your musculoskeletal health is easier when you start small and take incremental steps every day in the right direction.  We recommend you seek professional advice if you have musculoskeletal symptoms or are new to exercise, so that your new habits are tailored to your personal needs. Consistency is key for musculoskeletal health.  Choose activities that you enjoy to stay motivated and stick with your program regardless of changes in your schedule, the environment or weather.

2. Your Body Thrives With Exercise:

For musculoskeletal health, a winter fitness program should incorporate strength exercises, aerobic exercise of moderate intensity, and regular stretching.  If your muscles feel stiffer in the morning, take time to gently stretch before your day begins.

Consider setting up a dedicated space for your workouts at home so that wet weather doesn’t derail your exercise routine. Our environment can help us to feel more motivated to move, and you don’t need bulky equipment to feel the benefits.  A mat, resistance band and your own body weight can provide plenty of options for a great workout.  You may enjoy working out in the privacy of your own home or with the support of a community of like-minded people.

3. Musculoskeletal Health At Work:

If you are working at a desk, sitting and standing in a static position for lengthy periods of time can cause feelings of stiffness.  Muscular imbalance from poor posture at work may even exacerbate symptoms such as back pain.  When the weather is cooler, it’s just as important to stay agile and mobile.  In addition to regular exercise routines, moving more frequently throughout the day can be helpful for joint health.  Even just 5 minutes of stretching and flowing movement can be highly beneficial.

Another common issue with static postures can be neck pain (sometimes referred to as “tech neck”) from looking at computer screens and the phone.  Your Chiropractor can assess your posture, as well as help you to review your work ergonomics.  Your Practitioner may also suggest simple stretches that you can do throughout the day.  This may help to relieve joint and muscular stiffness that can occur from restrictive postural imbalances and work habits.

4. Water is best for Muscle, Bone and Joint Health:

During the cooler months, we can become dehydrated more easily as we may not feel the need to drink as much water.  Water, however, remains a great choice for the optimal function of our musculoskeletal system. Additionally, exercising in an aquatic environment has numerous benefits for musculoskeletal health. Swimming and aqua aerobics help to support our body weight and joints.  As a low impact activity, exercising in water provides both resistance for strength and at the same time helps to facilitate stretches, improving overall flexibility.

5. Rest, Recover and Sleep:

Rest and sleep are restorative for optimal health and wellness during winter. Mindful movement such as Pilates, Yoga or a regular meditation practice may include elements of relaxation, and a focus on breathing.  Creating daily opportunities to rest and relax can have a calming effect on the nervous system.

There are also multiple benefits for the musculoskeletal health system when we have a sound sleep routine.  A variety of factors can impact our “sleep hygiene”, such as lighting, temperature, noise and the use of technology.

Your Chiropractor may be able to discuss with you your sleeping posture and whether this could be adjusted to better support your spinal position.  This may help to alleviate any symptoms such as back pain or neck pain. In addition to your preferred sleeping position, it is helpful to discuss the best type of pillow, bed and mattress for your sleep sanctuary to promote rest and recovery.

We hope that these simple tips help you to stay on track with your musculoskeletal health during winter!

With some tweaks to your regular health and wellness routine, this can be a great time to enjoy the natural beauty outdoors and make the most of the cooler weather.

For more tips and motivation, remember you can follow us on Instagram where we will share more of our favourite tips for musculoskeletal health and mind-body exercises!