September/Oct Weather Attack!

In time for fall, those who thrive in warmer weather may find that their muscles have turned into treason worthy creatures, screaming for attention.

Just like heat intolerance, where some suffer in warmer months due to inflamed tissues around joints creating pain, pain can happen to those who get cold easily when the fall months hit due to unconscious muscle constriction. Areas of the body that have been tense long term are more bound to start being a real issue re: mobility and pain management through the autumn season.

The cold makes us more tense, more apt to be rigid and prone to injury due to muscle stiffness. People who dislike cold and love heat generally are more prone to suffer during the fall transition time, as it’s a bit of a shock to the system.  The body needs an adaptation time to get used to the new temperatures, so this phase usually normalizes by early winter.

In the meantime, what can you do to get through a fall transition cold weather cranky body crisis?

– Take a very hot bath 1-2 times a day, ideally with epsom salts.  Even just a 10 min hot soak will help relax your muscles immensely.

–  Stretch! Stretch! Stretch! Gently…for those who don’t have a regular streching routine or don’t know what to do/where personal body limitations considering injury are, hiring a private yoga therapist to provide a couple of one on one sessions tailored to your body is a great idea.  Otherwise, simple stretches are also quite useful.  Think gym class style.  Or alternately, there are numerous Youtube videos for a simple stretching routine.  It doesn’t have to be hardcore, nor an hour’s worth – just take 20 mins for yourself to connect to your body and move it around with care, extending your limbs, loosening your back, etc…you’d probably be surprised how amazing just lying on the floor with your arms extended is if you don’t ever take the time out to do it.

– Breathe! The cold makes us wound up, and sometimes just a bit of relaxation and breath work are useful for dislodging tight areas between shoulder blades and tight pectoral muscles (remember, they work together!).  Again, take 10 mins to lay on the floor and focus on your breathing, deep and intentional, and being aware of where your breath falls and how your back muscles engage in the process, and relaxing more and more into the floor each exhalation.

– Roll it out.  A robust foam roller, or my fav. tool, the Trigger Point roller, acts as your body’s new bff, allowing you to roll out your tension spots autonomously, reaching all the little areas that need a bit of compression to unlock tension and allow increased range of motion.  I can get a few back cracks in using mine, mixed with some breathing exercises (see above), it’s fantastic.

– Massage! (ha! you saw that coming didn’t you? 😉 ): yes, a good session of tension alleviation gives you a head start on keeping your body loose and ready to face life’s challenges with reduced pain and increased mobility, despite the cold weather.

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Allison Ryan