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It’s hard enough to keep fit or even do a workout when in chronic pain and during the winter months it can literally just go out the window. We all know that walking is one of the best things we can do even if it’s only a short walk but during the cold and wet days it sometimes makes it impossible to even do this.

With that in mind, I scoured the internet to find the simplest of workouts you could do indoors without too much effort to keep you feeling fitter and your muscles in good order.

Gentle stretching is a great way for anyone to increase their flexibility and mobility. They suggest that you stretch for at least ten minutes twice per week to stay limber. If doing floor exercises is too hard on their joints, they can perform seated stretches like side bends and knee raises on a chair or stool. 

The website Prevention has 15 deep stretches to ease everyday aches and pains, with images that are easy to understand. These simple moves can be done almost anywhere with minimal equipment. If you struggle to do an on the floor then you could try doing them on your bed.

Failing that the British Heart Foundation has some easy chair exercises. Whether you’re a wheelchair user or just spend a lot of time sitting down, the right moves will let you warm up and build strength at the same time. Gradually increase the duration and frequency as you feel more comfortable.

Don’t forget that doing household chores around the house is a great way to stay active during the winter. You can burn up to 200 calories hoovering the house if you can manage it and as many as 300 calories making the bed in the morning for 30 minutes. When I read this I realised why I needed my husband to help with the hoovering and why I felt so exhausted after making our bed !!!!! Because housework is an aerobic activity that gets the heart pumping, doing it for a few hours every day can help keep you healthy.

Yoga is becoming accepted as a great workout. It can help with mobility, relaxation and reduce aches and pains, maintain muscle strength, and improves general strength and fitness. Age Space have a link to five simple poses for older beginners to try, suggested by The Chopra Centre. The NHS also has a website an-all-ability level video class of Vinyasa yoga here.

Other forms of indoor exercises include lifting light weights and performing bodyweight exercises like squats and wall push-ups which can also improve bone health, increase mobility, and even prevent cognitive decline, but I think this is something quite hard for people in chronic pain to try and if well enough should really try it under supervision in a gym environment first.

As I always say, please please speak to your Doctor first before trying any form of new exercise even the chair workouts. If they give you the all clear to give them a go then check out the links I posted on this post.

Source: Prevention The British Heart Foundation Age Space NHS

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Most Fibromyalgia sufferers will agree that change of weather can affect the pain of Fibromyalgia and many Arthritic conditions, but can the hotter weather increase or decrease your pain?

Well, according to the website Fibromyalgia Symptoms, a study performed in 1981, found a large percentage of fibromyalgia sufferers may actually be sensitive to changes in the weather. In this particular study, 90% of patients claimed that weather was one of the most important influences on their fibromyalgia symptoms. And fibromyalgia sufferers aren’t the only ones to experience weather-related symptoms. The weather also affects people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and osteoarthritis.

People with OA or RA are not the only ones who link weather to increased arthritis pain. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, warm weather may improve symptoms for some people with psoriatic arthritis. However, there is no conclusive evidence proving this link. There is no evidence to support you moving to a warmer climate to escape arthritis pain although drier, warmer weather may result in less pain for some sufferers.

They say that warmer weather tends to ease the troublesome symptoms of fibromyalgia but when that barometric pressure changes fibromyalgia sufferers often find that these changes in barometric pressure can ‘trigger’ muscle aches and pains. One thing that they say can also affect us is how the wind condition is. Whether it’s a light wind or a gale-force wind, wind generally causes a decrease in barometric pressure. This means that wind can trigger fatigue, headaches, and muscle aches in fibromyalgia sufferers.

Southside Pain Specialist say barometric pressure is the weight of the surrounding atmosphere. This pressure typically drops prior to bad weather, which means there is less air pressure on the body. This causes tissue to expand. Expanded tissue creates pressure within the body that then results in pain or the sensation of pain or discomfort. People who suffer from chronic pain may have heightened sensitivity to such pain.

Blogger FibroDaze points out that “some heat sensitive people feel all-over heat sensations that seem to come from within their own body. Along with hot flashes, some people have problems with excessive sweating. Others may only have problems in their hands and feet, including puffiness and aching. Warm or hot weather can be unbearable with heat sensitivity.”

When the weather gets warm, heat-sensitive people with fibromyalgia and arthritic conditions often experience symptom flare-ups. Research has found that people with fibromyalgia exposed to hot temperatures report increases in pain, headaches, fatigue, anxiety and depression. They are also more likely to have heat rashes and heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Vanness Chiropractors say our bodies adjust to the climate we’re living in, so any dips in weather equal back pain, no matter the starting temperature or the degree of the dip. Decreased pressure causes the body’s tissues to expand and press against joints and structures in the back, and you’ll recognize that the pressure dropped with the return of your consistent back pain.

When the barometric pressure drops, this fluid surrounding the joint expands, thus causing the body’s tissues and membranes to stretch even further. This chain reaction means that your pain nerve fibres are irritated – and you’re all of a sudden acutely aware of your back pain.

However, the winter months can cause us more pain. The Centre For Spine say up to 8 in 10 people will have back pain in their lifetime, and in many cases, a flair-up is caused by a drop in temperature. Aches and pains during colder months can be some of the hardest to deal with because tendons and joints contract in the cold air, making the pain seem more excruciating. If you are one of the many people who suffer from winter pain, there may be a few solutions that will actually decrease your pain.

According to an extensive review of clinical research by Pain Treatment Topics, authored by Stewart B. Leavitt, MA, PhD., people suffering from pain usually had inadequate levels of vitamin D. “In our review of 22 clinical research studies, persons with various pain and fatigue syndromes almost always lacked vitamin D, especially during winter months.

When sufficient vitamin D supplementation was provided, the aches, pains, weakness, and related problems in most sufferers either vanished or were at least helped to a significant degree.

So, in answer to my question does hotter weather increase or decrease your pain I guess the majority of us would say ‘yes’ it does definitely increase our pain. On that note and in this very hot period make sure that you are fully hydrated, cool down with a shower or cool bath, use cool packs instead of heat packs and wear cool clothing.

Source: Centre for Spine, Vanness Chiro, Web MD, South Side Pain, Hunimed.