Keys to Flexibility During Winter
Do you ever wonder why you have lose your flexibility during winter and have more pain when you are cold? It’s simple. When you are cold, your muscles stiffen and shorten. How can you avoid the chronic discomfort most people feel in the winter? Follow these five simple steps.
1) When it is cold outside, cover your neck up with a buff or tall collar. When your neck gets cold, the front of your neck muscles (the sternocleidomastoids) shorten and stiffen. This can result in simple neck stiffness or even bad headaches. Just the little weight of a scarf dragging your neck forward, can make your neck sore not to mention the extra forward posture of your neck trying to accommodate that scarf in your jacket.
2) Focus on keeping your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears. Hunching them up doesn’t keep you warm, it just makes you stiffer and shortens your neck muscles.
3) Make sure you warm your muscles up before strenuous physical activity. Shoveling snow when you are tight and stiff or trying to lift something heavy without warming up your muscles first is only asking for trouble. If you are pressed for time, start with tiny piles of snow and alternate arms. Better yet, go on a walk first, enjoy the beauty and then get after it!
4) If you really want to improve your flexibility during winter, with all the time you spend hibernating, try to develop a few hobbies to escape the cold weather. You would be shocked how effective a once a week pilates or yoga class can be to improve your flexibility. Winter is a perfect time to explore whether you like this form of exercise or not since there are so many limitations with outdoor activities.
5) While I mentioned scarves will keep your neck muscles warm and reduce the clenching, make sure you don’t have so much stuffed around your neck along the inside of your coat that it is pushing your head forward. Also, long and heavy scarves can cause neck pain by increasing the weight hanging around your neck. While it seems so minimal, wearing it all day can also cause you to stiffen up and lose flexibility during winter months.