As we all know, the weather in the UK can be quite unpredictable!
Summers can be really warm. Unfortunately, they are also very short. On the other hand, winters can be very long and dreary, making it difficult to plan outdoor activities. So, it’s definitely a good idea to be prepared for any weather when living in the UK!
But above all, remember that it’s important to look after your body, whatever the season!
During the winter season, the human body can undergo changes in response to the low temperatures. This is where chiropractic care can be beneficial. Chiropractors have experience in helping the body to function optimally all year round. Regular chiropractic treatments can help improve joint mobility, relieve pain and stiffness, and strengthen the immune system.
So .. how does the cold affect our bodies?
It is indeed possible for colder weather to affect how we perceive our body's aches and pains. Several studies have suggested that changes in temperature and humidity can impact joint pain, headaches, and muscular aches. When the temperature drops, our muscles and joints tend to contract, reducing blood flow and causing stiffness, which can lead to discomfort and pain. Similarly, changes in barometric pressure can also impact our bodies, particularly those with existing conditions such as arthritis or migraines. It is therefore important that we take care of our bodies in the colder months, and ensure that we stay warm and hydrated to avoid negative effects on our health.
Despite all this, the cold can offer a lot of overlooked benefits! Here are top 5 benefits of the cold for your spine and body:
#1. Reduces Inflammation
It’s not just the heat that gets us moving. Just like applying an ice pack to an injury, cold can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Reduced inflammation can lead to less spinal pain and improved joint function – keeping you pain free and flexible.
#2. Promotes Blood Circulation
In response to the cold, your body works harder to distribute blood efficiently, which can improve circulation.
Exposure to cold improves circulation, which in turn can stimulate the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting infections and disease. In addition, nutrients are better distributed and waste products are better removed from spinal tissues. All of this contributes to a healthier spine.
#3. Enhances Muscle Recovery
It’s no secret that more and more athletes are using cold therapy for muscle recovery.
Likewise, cold exposure can help speed up recovery after exercise or injury by reducing muscle soreness and improving circulation, which ultimately benefits your spinal health.
#4. Increases Metabolic Rate
Cold weather can boost metabolism as the body burns more energy to keep warm, potentially contributing to weight loss, which in turn is beneficial for spinal health.
The cold can also increase heart rate and adrenaline levels, leading to increased alertness and concentration.
#5. Improves Mental Resilience
Experiencing and adapting to the cold can actually help to boost mental resilience, resistance and sleep. The cold can help regulate the body's sleep-wake cycle, leading to better sleep quality and duration. All of this can contribute to overall wellbeing.
That’s not to say that spending all day in the cold without clothes is a good thing, but short periods of cold exposure - including cold showers – have been shown to help with poor mental health and depression.
It's true that cold exposure can have great benefits, but it's important to be careful and use it intelligently. One way to get the most out of cold exposure while keeping your spine healthy and aligned is through regular chiropractic care.
So - the next time you head out into the cold air, remember that the cold isn’t just a reason to shiver, it’s also an opportunity to benefit your spine and overall health! Of course, moderation is key, and it's important to stay warm and safe.
Arthritis, aCentre for E.V. (2020) Are weather conditions associated with chronic pain, LWW. Available at: https://journals.lww.com/pain/fulltext/2020/04000/are_weather_conditions_associated_with_chronic.3.aspx .
Huberman, A. (2023) The Science & Use of Cold Exposure for Health & Performance, Huberman Lab. Available at: https://www.hubermanlab.com/newsletter/the-science-and-use-of-cold-exposure-for-health-and-performance .
Skwiat, T. (2018) 9 health benefits of cold exposure (so, chill out), BioTrust. Available at: https://blog.biotrust.com/9-health-benefits-cold-exposure/.