COLD WEATHER IMPACT: THE HUMAN BAROMETER
Your body, mind and spirit is affected by weather. Atmospheric pressure make us human barometers. Blood pressure, joints, mood and energy levels all react. Why is that? For more detailed information you can click on the highlighted links.
- Blood pressure rises with grey and cold weather. The body protects itself against the lower temperatures, and blood vessels contract. Pressure builds up as the blood is forced to push itself through narrowed veins and arteries.
- Joint pain increases with humidity and cold temperatures. The body reacts to cloud cover, higher winds, drifting rain and snow. Sudden changes in barometric pressure, such as the switch that occurs right before a storm, can trigger joint pain. Cold weather can also cause painful changes in joint fluid thickness, some research has found.
- Headaches tend to increase with barometric pressure. The reason is not clear, but it may be that the pressure in the brain or the way the brain blocks pain is impacted. It may also be evolutionary, as it keeps humans in tune with their environment.
- Sinus pains in winter can be difficult, as they increase when barometric pressure, or the weight of the air pressing down on the surface of the earth, changes.
- Diabetics have a harder time to control blood sugar doing cold fronts, as a weather front is associated with low pressure, and thus blood viscosity, or thickness, increases.
- You burn more calories during cold weather, which is an interesting motivator to get out there and move. Your body will also ask for more food to compensate, which can be a bit tricky.
- With the rising blood pressure, and strenuous activity (running too hard, snow shovelling, gardening etc) the risk for heart attacks increase with cold weather.
- Common cold increase during cold weather season. While a cold can’t be contracted from cold, experts say that an immune system gets weakened by rapid temperature swings. The cold virus also transmits better in cold air.
- SAD sufferers are more affected when the it is grey, cold, and rainy. In the northern hemisphere self-harm, depression and prescription drugs for these conditions go up during the darker months.
- Feeling tired and energy zapped increases drastically for many during grey and cold weather.
- The lower pressure outside increases our wish to stay warm and cosy inside. We are trained to seek out comforting foods that are calorie rich, creamier and sweeter. Exercise and healthier food choices seem to go down with the temperatures outside too — which is exactly how our mind then gets further affected. As climate change is a real concern, and our health issues increase, we need to become better at figuring out what we ourselves can do. How can we naturally suppress this need to hibernate?
COLD WEATHER: MOOD, ENERGY AND HEALTH BOOSTERS
The weather impacts how we feel, eat and move. Do we have to accept the fact that winter comes with less energy, more kilo, and coughing? You can counteract and boost yourself with these common-sense, simple and totally achievable tips.
#1 Move Every Day to Lower Blood Pressure: Our body learnt to react to the weather in which it had to survive. Therefore the blood vessels contract which builds up pressure as blood is pushed through the system. For the heart this is not a great thing. Many heart attacks take place as the atmospheric pressure change. The other factor is that we are prone to move less, and blood pressure goes up even further.
- Move every day for at least 30 minutes. You need to think about warm-up, clothes and to not put undue stress on the body. Go for a run, but make sure to layer up. Whilst excuses are many – mind over matter will solve the initial resistance. Get the tips on winter exercises you can do in our next post about winter wellness.
- A bonus is that you burn more in winter weather. Walking gives you metabolism healthy burning energy, a mood booster and a great feeling.
#2 Get Sunlight: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods. It is also produced when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. We need Vitamin D as it promotes calcium absorption in the gut. It is also needed for bone growth, and to protect us from osteoporosis. By going out less in during the darker months — and eating unhealthier foods — we contribute to our mood, energy and health loss. The way to solve this is:
- Go out every day, even if it is grey. You boost your mood, metabolism, get vitamin D and lower blood pressure. Perfect!
- Natural light is the best, but many get an energizing mood boost, by a so-called SAD Light Box / LED sunlamp.
#3 Food-Mood Connection: The food – mood connection is strong. By eating healthy, and avoiding processed foods, you are already on the right track.
Vitamin D and Serotonin are known mood boosters. The importance of serotonin has been highlighted as it is a chemical messenger that acts as a mood stabilizer and produces healthy sleeping patterns. The level of serotonin is low in those that suffer from depression, and also dips for heathy people during the darker months. This ‘feel good’ chemical isn’t easily found in foods, however serotonin is synthesised from the amino acid tryptophan.
Read the full article at thegoodista