Beat the winter chills

It is quite unusual in January to see people in their bathing suits enjoying a sunny afternoon at the beach. This beautiful weather is great in the afternoon, but the nights and early morning have been exceptionally cold. So many people are complaining of muscle pain because they feel cold and hold themselves in a very tensed manner.

Feeling chilly when it is close to zero degrees outside is one thing, but if you’re always shivering, or you always feel cold while everyone else seems to feel comfortable, there may be something else going on that needs to be investigated.

Winter can make people’s muscles stiff, tight and painful. Apart from leaving you feeling less flexible, you may find it difficult to stretch your muscles. Instead of expanding, your muscles contract to keep you warm.

Muscles may be to blame for creating discomfort but, at the same, it is essential to build muscles to keep you warm.

Muscles help maintain body temperature by producing heat so not having enough muscle tone contributes to feeling chilly.

Also, having more muscle mass fires up your metabolism, which fights the freezing feeling.

Go to the weight room at the gym or invest in free weights and go ahead and build the muscles that will power your furnace.

One factor that might contribute to this constant shivering is if you are underweight and you lack an adequate level of body fat to insulate you from cold temperatures.

You need to make sure you eat a balanced diet with proteins and carbohydrates and that you exercise to build muscles. More muscles also mean more body weight.

Another important factor in keeping our body warm is the integrity of our own internal thermometer which is controlled by a specific area of the brain: the hypothalamus. This area is affected by stress and by lack of proper sleep.

Sleep deprivation can have a detrimental effect on your nervous system, throwing off regulatory mechanisms in the brain. While it is not clear how this happens, studies suggest that in response to the stress of not getting quality sleep, there’s a reduction in activity in the brain where body temperature is regulated.

When you’re fatigued from a restless night, your metabolism works at a more sluggish pace producing less heat and slower circulation.

Other conditions like hypothyroidism, iron deficiency anaemia, dehydration or poor circulation can also be responsible for feeling cold. It is important to have regular blood tests to make sure you are not suffering from those conditions or lacking any essential vitamins or minerals.

You need to drink enough water (eight glasses a day) to keep your body powering up your metabolism, which will help in maintaining better overall body heat.
Exercising regularly will also help you bring your body temperature up and maintain a proper blood circulation throughout your body.

Now we know that exercising, eating properly and sleeping enough hours all help in creating more energy.

Having enough energy generated in the body is important, but what is essential is to have that energy reaching all areas of the body in a balanced manner.
In order to do so, your nervous system needs to be free of interference. That is where your chiropractor can help you.

Our nervous system is the control system and the network of communication for the body. It is made up of nerves, the spinal cord and the brain. The nerves control everything we do; they carry messages that tell us to move, to breathe, to warm up or to cool down. Nerves run to the muscles, organs, heart, lungs, blood vessels, brain and even to our teeth and skin. The nervous system, the endocrine system, and the immune system are inextricably linked.

If you have vertebral subluxations in your spine or if you have arthritis, you know that winter weather can bring additional pain to your joints. Experiencing pain can lead to more discomfort and even to a decrease in mobility. When you visit your chiropractor, he or she will help keep the stiffness away by ensuring that your spine stays properly aligned.

With chiropractic spinal adjustments, you can move your joints without much discomfort and stiffness, and alleviate additional inflammation due to the cold weather.

Apart from minimising joint pain, chiropractic care reduces back and neck pain caused by factors like joint restriction, joint dysfunction and muscle imbalances. Your chiropractor will help preserve the flexibility of your spinal joints to help you move freely.

Chiropractic care even allows you to fight off cold and flu by fortifying your immune system.

If you too want to feel good in your body, chiropractic care is a preventive way to keep your body in gear.

By Sandra Genest-Boudreau | Christophe O. Alves
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Sandra Genest-Boudreau is French-Canadian, who graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1990 before coming to the Algarve in 2002. She is passionate about adjusting all her patients, particularly children. Christophe Alves graduated from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) UK, and has a special interest in Sport Chiropractic. Algarve Quiroprática clinic: EN125 in Pêra | 282 312 853 | 969 397 375