Strength. Flexibility. Comfort. Freedom.

Down here in Florida, cooler weather has barely set in.

But I know where many of you live, the cold has arrived.

Heck, a friend of mine in Colorado just sent me some pictures from outside his house and they already have 8 inches of snow on the ground!

For many, the arrival of chillier weather can be exciting.

Snow, and all the fun that comes with it. (They don’t call it a “winter wonderland” for nothing. 

But, colder weather also brings with it something not-at-all enjoyable… joint pain.

Getting out and enjoying your favorite activities, like a hike in the hills or jog around the neighborhood, isn't easy during the cooler months when your joints are achy and stiff.

Experts aren't quite sure why joint and muscle pain increases when the temperature drops.

But there are some steps you can take to help ease your stiff, achy joints and help keep them comfortable through the cold months.

First thing you absolutely should do is keep moving.

Don’t hibernate. Don’t stop exercising. 

Staying active will help you maintain your flexibility and ease joint pain throughout the season.

And when you do go out for a workout, dress for the weather.

Cold joints and muscles can lead to an increased risk of injury, so you want to dress in layers as you head outside... layers that you can shed as the temperature rises throughout the day.

Post work-out, apply heat with a heating pad, or even warm bath, to soothe sore joints and reduce pain.

If you’re still feeling achy after the heat, try to massage sore and stiff points with a tennis ball.

Numerous studies have shown that massage can help reduce pain and discomfort.

By using the ball on specific pressure points or tight muscles on your body, you can help your body loosen up and relax. 

Try standing against a wall with the ball between you and the wall and roll the ball around your back by bending and straightening your legs. 

Or, lie down and place the ball underneath you, allowing your weight to release to the ground. 

Move the ball up your spine, leaving the ball in each spot for 1-2 minutes. 

The ball will begin to work pressure points along your spine, releasing tension in your back.

And finally, throughout the colder months, you want to make sure you’re loading up on vitamin D.

With less daylight during fall and winter, your body isn’t making as much vitamin D as it does during the “sunnier” months.

And that can take a toll on your joints because research has found that low levels of vitamin D can be an underlying factor in joint pain. 

Don’t spend the colder months cooped up inside, confined to the sofa. 

Take special care of your joints and enjoy pain-free activities, all season long.

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