How to Beat Stiff and Cold Leg Muscles During the Winter Months

 (And my favorite winter, “Keep your legs warmer at night trick!”)

John Paul Ouvrier

Are you one of those that can predict the weather based on how your leg or other muscles feel? Can you tell all of us if there is a storm coming because your joints tell you first? Does it take a lot longer than you’d like to admit to get up and moving because everything is so stiff? If so, this article can shed some light on the most common sense ways to take care of your muscles during the colder times of year, and share my favorite winter bedtime tricks to help keep the legs warm.

First off let us say that if stiff and cold leg muscles belong to you, this can easily be due to an underlying medical condition that should be addressed with your doctor. Though I am blessed to be the Wizard of Youth, and my collections of writings and communications can easily save a life, anything that happens due to the circulation within your muscles is a Doctor first, Wizard second situation, okay? Now my friends, who have a tiny weather person in their legs, knees and ankles, let us explore some points of knowledge.

 Rather than say any of us are older than we’d like to admit, let us say that some of us have more miles on our engines than we care to remember. And like a car with miles on the engine, it takes a few minutes to warm up before we go driving right? Such is the same with the human body.

Blood tends to pool in the lower parts of the body, like oil does in the bottom of the engine, and must be kicked up into the engine to work properly. In our body, we do this by moving the muscles around first, as in the Wizard’s rule of, “Wake up Before You Stand Up!” This means move the feet and legs throughout the day to keep the blood pumping. If you don’t pump the blood, the muscles don’t get fresh oxygen and you will naturally get colder. So the legs need movement to help stay warm.

Here’s a common problem:  People sit all day long, which not only increases the chances of blood clots, sitting actually decreases blood flow because we are squashing the pipes (the blood vessels) that bring blood to our lower extremities. So sitting all day long, in addition to causing many other problems doesn’t help in the cold department. The solution: Get up and walk for 2 to 5 minutes every 30 minutes, or on commercial breaks. Remember that habits formed today tell the body what to do tomorrow, and youth is a habit. (Use it or lose it…)

Here’s another easy and fun tip: buy one of those cheap floor peddler exercise machines you see in the catalogs on a day you know you’ll be sitting for hours. Just set it down, and pedal.  This is easy and though not walking, can prevent a blood clot and a fall. (Want a great gift idea for a senior who doesn’t do what they should- buy them one of these devices. They run 20 to 40 dollars, and the 20-dollar one isn’t much cheaper than the 40 dollar one! You could easily save a life.)

Okay, so now you know, get up and/or move to keep the blood flowing to keep some heat in the lower extremities.  It’s now time to share my two favorite, “Keep the legs warmer at night” tricks.

Here are the facts:  The body temperature drops to its lowest point between 2 to 4 am. Add to that, that we’re not moving the legs and that blood flow is decreased. That’s a recipe for cold lower legs. How to help? Wear a pair of socks that you can pull up to at least your mid calf or so that aren’t too tight (unless your doctor says so). This will help that. And the easiest one of all? Take a blanket, fold it in half, and lay it on the bottom half of the bed, over the other covers, so that your lower legs have a little extra warmth!

 Though the days of trays with warm coals and hot water bottles may be over for most of us, the logic of these ideas shouldn’t be forgotten; add a little warmth to your legs and feet! Thank you once again, and I will keep my Wizardly feet warm ‘til next we meet. Blessings!

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John Paul Ouvrier, is a fitness trainer who specializes in working with older adults.  He is the author of ‘The Wizard of Youth’ series for adults and children, the creator of The Wizard of Youth 4 Kids Board Game’and the Executive Director of Fitness For Charity.  His websites are: http://wizardofyouth.com. & http://fitness4charity.org.  He can be reached at john@wizardofyouth.com
 

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