Winter can be dreadful for your knees. Here are 4 tips for damage control
By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 12, 2023
Winter can be a challenging time for fitness enthusiasts, especially for those who love running. While the cold weather can make it harder to get out of bed, it’s not just the bitter chill you have to battle against. The winter season brings with it orthopedic challenges that can be particularly troublesome for your knees. However, with a few precautions, you can protect your knees and continue enjoying your winter runs. Here are some tips for damage control:
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Why Winter is Tough on Your Knees
1. Cold and Humidity
Low temperatures and high humidity can induce knee pain. These changes in the environment affect the cellular structure of our joints, causing them to contract and expand. This can result in an unpleasant tingling sensation and pain in the knees.
2. Thick Synovial Fluid
The drop in temperature during winter can cause the fluid in our knees to thicken, leading to stiffness in the joints. Synovial fluid plays a crucial role in shock absorption during running and reducing friction in regular movements. When it becomes thicker, it affects our body’s daily functioning.
3. Nerve Sensitivity
If you’ve had a knee injury in the past, winter weather may worsen the issue. People with a history of knee injuries experience inflammation, scarring, and sensitivity to nerves during the colder season. Running during winter may further exacerbate nerve sensitivity.
4. Barometric Pressure
Changes in barometric pressure can also contribute to knee pain. As the temperature drops, the barometric pressure of the air rises. This causes the fluid and gases in our knees to expand, leading to aching knees.
Now that we understand why winter can be tough on our knees, let’s explore some measures to protect them during your winter runs:
Tips for Protecting Your Knees
1. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is key for any form of exercise, including running. Drinking enough water decreases the chances of wear and tear during your run and improves your body’s flexibility.
2. Warm Up Your Body
Warming up your body before a workout is crucial to reduce the risk of injuries. Perform jumping jacks and knee highs to get your blood flowing before heading out for a long run. Don’t forget to incorporate stretching exercises to loosen up your muscles.
3. Keep Your Knees Warm
To maintain optimal warmth and reduce friction as you run, consider wearing knee wraps and neoprene sleeves under your clothing. These accessories provide extra warmth and support to your knees.
4. Train Your Quads
Strengthening your quadriceps can significantly reduce the risk of knee injuries. Incorporate exercises like leg press, leg curl, lunges, and squats into your fitness routine to build the necessary strength for running.
By following these running rules, you can ensure that the cold weather doesn’t cool down your fitness regime. Embrace the nip in the air and continue working towards your fitness goals, regardless of the season. Stay active, stay healthy, and protect your knees for a rewarding running experience this winter!
Also, read: Cycling versus running: Which exercise is better, and why?