Why Do My Knees Stiffen Up In The Winter?


It’s now that time of year when I appreciate the remote start on my car. I can be bundling up the kids and the heat in the car can already be blasting to take off the winter chill.

But it’s not just our cars that need a little extra time to warm up at this time of year.

Do your knees feel stiff or uncooperative when you first get up?

Maybe they ache more throughout the day than usual?

It’s very common when the cold weather hits and we see it in the clinic throughout the winter months.  The concern we hear most often is that people can’t quite put their finger on why they are struggling and why this pain is all of a sudden worse than usual.

If this sounds like you, at least now you know that you’re not alone.

But why does it happen (especially to men and women aged 50+)?

There are a lot of reasons that exist as to why joints in your body become more problematic in the winter time. . . some backed by scientific fact and some old wives tales.

But, the two reasons we find most often and affect the knees more than anywhere else:

1. Blood flow decreases to the joints as your body sends blood to your organs to keep you warm.  Lack of fluid and nutrients in the joints make them stiff and muscles less agile.


2. Most people are much less likely to keep as active and mobile in the winter as in the warmer months.  When you are sitting on the couch or at your desk, your knees are bent and stiff and want to get stuck there.

Both of these things come down to joint movement and lubrication – just like spraying WD-40 on a stuck hinge you haven’t used for awhile.

And here’s the thing that many people don’t realize – the winter months and long periods of inactivity don’t just affect your joint pain today, but can over time result in lifelong achy and arthritic joints.

See, as your muscles get a long rest this winter, they will become weaker and slowly get to the point where they won’t be able to support your knee joint as well. And many people don’t even notice this weakness until the pain sets in.

What can we to make it to spring?

It’s so important to make the most of every opportunity to keep active.  Walking the dog or taking the stairs can fight off the curse of bad knees creeping up on you.

It’s easy to put it off and think that when the weather starts to warm up you’ll exercise again. The problem is you want your muscles to be strong and stable when you exercise.  This is why most knee injuries happen – tough exercise is started back too quickly after a significant break.

So just get moving! Indoors or out, do some sort of activity every day. 

  • Stream your favorite show on the exercise bike at the gym

  • Take a Pilates or yoga class (your joints will love you for that)

  • Bundle up and take the kids to the playground

  • Do a YouTube workout in the comfort of your living room (search CU24 for my favorites)

It doesn’t have to be strenuous or high impact wither, there really is something that everyone can do.

So, what are you going to do to keep active this winter?

For more tips like this and exercises that you can do without having to step foot outside in the cold, click the button below to receive a FREE report:  7 Simple Ways to Stop Chronic, Daily Annoying Knee Pain.

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