How Does Cold Weather Affect the Body? (And What to Do About It!)
When it comes to winter health concerns, most people tend to immediately think of the seasonal flu virus or getting a cold. While it’s true that the colder months include flu season, there are loads of ways how cold weather affects the body that you can prepare against to stay healthy.
Today, we’re answering the question, “how does cold weather affect the body?” to see some common winter health concerns and what you can do about them! From arthritis flare ups to mental health struggles, keep reading for tips you can use this cold weather season.
How Cold Weather Affects the Body
Winter can be a tough time for all of us. Regardless of your age or health condition, cold weather has the potential to bring with it adverse effects to your body. So how does cold weather affect the body and what can you do about it?
A few common winter health concerns for how cold weather affects the body include:
- Joint pain and arthritis flare ups
- Reducing immune system activity
- Triggering asthma attacks
- Lowering digestive ability, increasing risk of weight gain
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Poor blood circulation
Arthritis and Cold Weather Joint Pain
Kicking off our exploration to the question, “how does cold weather affect the body?” is a look at arthritis and cold weather joint pain. It’s no secret that arthritis and cold weather aren’t friends! While there’s no definitive answer for why joints are often negatively affected by dropping temperatures, dropping barometric pressure can cause muscles, tendons, and tissue to expand, causing joint pain in people with arthritis.
There are a number of easy things you can do to help reduce joint pain as cooler weather comes around including dressing warmly with layers, staying hydrated, considering vitamin supplements, and even getting a massage. Since arthritis flare ups and joint pain can happen at any time, having tools on hand, like a zero gravity chair with massage features, to help alleviate them can be immensely beneficial. Other potential health benefits of zero gravity chairs may combine to help soothe cold weather joint pain, as well, making them beneficial for everyone during the winter months!
Low Immune System Activity During Cold Months
We couldn’t address the question, “how does cold weather affect the body?” without discussing its effect on your immune system. While there have been conflicting arguments about whether or not cold weather itself depresses the immune system, research has shown that one of reasons your immune system may be weakened during cold weather months is the reduction of vitamin D. Other examinations into “how does cold weather affect the body and immune system?” have suggested cold weather may also reduce immune response from airway cells against the cold virus.
As one of the best sources of vitamin D is sunlight, the reduced number of daylight hours combined with our inability (or lack of desire) to be out in the cold means we soak up much less sunlight during the colder months. This is a sort of cause-and-effect scenario of how cold weather affects the body.
Since we can’t instantly increase the temperature during cold months to improve immune response in our bodies, finding ways to boost your immune system naturally during winter months is crucial to your overall health. You can do this in a multitude of ways such as managing stress levels, staying active, or creating a relaxing night time routine to get better sleep quality.
Cold Weather Asthma Issues
Continuing our look into, “how does cold weather affect the body?” comes asthma complications. Cold temperatures tend to keep people indoors, which means more exposure to air pollutants such as dust, dander, and mold that can trigger asthma attacks.
That’s inside though, so how does cold weather affect the body and asthma outdoors? Cold outdoor air can trigger a person’s asthma as well. It’s important to know what affects your body most and limit outdoor aerobic activity if you have asthma.
Does Cold Weather Affect Digestion?
One example of how cold weather affects the body you may not have considered is digestion. When exposed to lower temperatures, your body takes it as a signal to conserve energy and heat. This slows your metabolism down and reduces digestive capabilities. Learning ways to improve digestion during the colder months can be key to avoid holiday weight gain and fighting obesity.
Since colder months tend to keep people indoors, finding natural ways to improve digestion during winter means thinking outside the box. Whether it's adopting a new sleep position or using tools like a zero gravity chair, get creative with ways to increase your metabolism and digestive system function and see the difference it can make in your overall well-being.
Cold Weather and Mental Health
We can’t explore the question, “how does cold weather affect the body?” without considering your mental health, as well. One of the most common concerns for how cold weather affects the body is through Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a recurrent major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern usually beginning in fall and continuing into winter months.
Learning how to beat the winter blues may include tips and techniques such as:
- Creating morning and nighttime routines for yourself
- Taking breaks from work during the daylight hours
- Listening to upbeat music or dancing
- Finding creative ways to be social with others (even virtually)
Other methods for battling seasonal affective disorder may include things like light therapy tools and meditation. If you’re using a zero gravity chair to combat other examples of how cold weather affects the body, zero gravity meditation is an easy daily task to add to your routine. Learning how to meditate at home could elevate your mood and lower stress levels, making it one of the best (and easiest) relaxation tips to recharge your mind and body.
It’s important to note that mental health is a serious thing. If you’re experiencing prolonged symptoms of depression, sadness, or anxiety please consult a medical professional right away for help.
Poor Circulation in Cold Weather
Last up on our examination of, “how does cold weather affect the body?” is poor circulation. Poor circulation in cold weather is very common. Low temperatures can lead to vasoconstriction, which can affect circulation or increase your risk of a heart attack.
There are a number of ways to help poor blood circulation effectively even in cold weather. The easiest way to protect against how cold weather affects the body is to wear the appropriate clothing when it’s cold outside. If you’re staying inside, adopting a full body workout routine may keep your blood circulating efficiently and help you stay fit this winter.
Improving blood circulation is another area where having a zero gravity chair may help, as well. In the zero gravity position, the legs are elevated above the heart level while weight is distributed along the body. While reclining, blood is able to flow more efficiently throughout the body, reducing stress on the heart, helping with how the body heals itself, and providing a plethora of other potential health benefits.
As you can see, finding the answer to “how does cold weather affect the body?” means considering more than just when you’re outdoors. Spending more time inside during winter months is also a factor for how cold weather affects the body that you may not have considered before. From bundling up outdoors to choosing a zero gravity chair for its potential benefits for many cold weather health concerns, be sure to protect both your mental and physical health this season. As always, consult a medical professional before beginning any new health routine to ensure it's safe for you to do so.
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