Our bodies respond to cold weather with more than just stiff joints, cold fingers and frosty toes. When we’re cold, our blood starts to thicken, which can cause clotting, heart attacks and strokes at a higher frequency. Our ability to fight infections is also affected by the cold, so respiratory illnesses are more common this time of year.
Staying active throughout the winter is an important preventative measure — but, often, that’s the opposite of what people do when the weather gets cold. Your apartment may be nice and toasty, but luckily, there are many opportunities to get moving at Ardenwoods. On a good day, join your neighbors in the multipurpose room for yoga, qigong, balance or strength training. On a lazy day, reference our simple stretching tips below, which are safe for most adults and can help ease arthritis pain. Remember: Only move in ways that are comfortable and make you feel safe. Ease into movements slowly and gently.
Simple Stretching Tips
One great way to get going on a cold morning is to start moving right in your bed: Just stretch! Move your muscles as is suitable for you, without going beyond your comfortable range of motion.
Laying on your back in bed, try to:
- Lengthen your legs, reach your arms over your head and stretch like a cat.
- Raise your arms in front of you and circle your wrists, opening and closing your fingers. Then give them a shake.
- Raise one leg, rotate your ankle, point and flex your foot and give it a gentle shake. Repeat with the other leg.
- Bend your knees up toward your abdomen, with your feet roughly hip-width apart, and slowly let your knees sway side to side to loosen your hips and back.
Sitting on the side of your bed:
- Stretch your arms out at your sides, then move them forward and back to stretch your chest and back.
- Make small, circular motions with your upper body to get the hips and spine in motion.
- Sit up tall and look side to side.
- Move one shoulder forward and then the other to perform a gentle twist of the spine.
- Try to move your hips in a circle, then give your body a good (gentle) shake.
- Raise your heels off the floor (one at a time or both together) and, without leaving the ground, gently bounce up and down on your toes. You may want to hold on to something stationary, like your countertop or kitchen sink.