The Seasons & Exercise

I asked what you wanted to hear about in the blog and someone asked for a discussion on how seasons affect exercise. For me, anecdotally, the change of seasons are always a time to turn over a new leaf or start something new. It’s like we have four quarters to breaks activity up.

Some of the ways the seasons tend to effect exercise are obvious. We are all more likely to do more outside in the summer. There are different sports in different seasons, so if you like skiing, but hate the heat you might get in better shape in the winter months.

We all know that colder weather can be felt in our joints and our lungs. Hot, humid weather can make exercise miserable, so what really changes in our body during different seasons? Here are just some examples.

• A US study shows that blood pressure increases during the winter. They tend to think this is because we generally work out less in the winter and eat more, but it might also be because of the cold air restricting blood vessels.

Mood can also be effected by the season and the amount of light we can get. Generally speaking we are happier and feel better in summer months than winter months. Our mood often effects our instinct or desire to exercise so the problem can just be exacerbated. It’s probably smart to have a good exercise plan for the winter that you can stick to even when it’s dark and cold because your mind and mental state will thank you for it.
• We tend to blame the weather for achy joints, sore muscles, and worse asthma attacks and now there might be science to back it up. This WebMD article is fascinating and even talks about how allergies may not be caused by pollen, but actual temperature changes. We may actually be allergic to certain seasons and that can effect breathing and the motivation you have to get outside and move.
• But is it fair to blame achy joints and migraines on the weather? It turns out maybe not. Since the 70’s researches haven’t been able to pinpoint a connection between dewpoint, barometric pressure, temperature and headaches or arthritis. Patients who claim to be able to predict the weather based on how they feel, apparently can’t predict it that accurately in studies. Still most doctors seem to think there is something to the claims. And it makes sense, when the pressure drops outside, it’s like being on an airplane—the pressure around us changes outside before the pressure or air inside our head can change and our ears suffer. That might happen to nerves around the joints too. They may sense the pressure change outside and be effected by it—at least that’s what it seems like might be happening to rats. So the connection is there, it’s just not clear how significant the connection is for humans yet—ah the body, always surprising us.

2017-09-12T19:31:41+00:00

About the Author:

Maggie Downie
Thank you for giving your time to stop and read my blog. I hope it encourages you to keep moving. Move and the body will be happier. And when you're moving you can hike, run, swim in Jell-O, race over non-Newtonian fluids, travel the world or build igloos--if that's your thing. If not, you can watch me do it. This is just a spot to try and feel good about life.

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