Navigating Winter Walks: A Guide for Dog Parents With AxSpa

Walking my dog outside during the wintertime is a form of torture I don't wish upon anyone. As walking her is something that I have to do, rather than something that I can choose not to do, I've been more intentional about my walks.

For one, I aim to take her on one longer walk where she can do her business more than once. I also aim to do a shorter but slower walk where we don't walk as far. But I spend more time letting her sniff around so that she can enjoy the limited time we're spending outdoors. As you know, living with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) can pose unique challenges, especially when faced with joint and back pain during the colder months. I understand the struggles that come with managing this condition.

I wanted to explore how dog parents with axSpA can navigate the winter season, providing valuable insights, tips, and tools to make those outdoor walks more manageable.

3 Winter walk strategies that work

1. Plan your walks strategically

When it comes to winter walks, planning is critical. Consider breaking your walks into two sessions – one longer walk for your dog's needs and one shorter, more relaxed walk where you focus on enjoying the outdoors at a slower pace. This can help you manage your energy levels and reduce the impact on your joints.

2. Invest in proper gear

The right gear can make a significant difference. Invest in proper winter clothing to keep yourself warm, and remember to outfit your furry friend with a cozy sweater or jacket. Additionally, consider using walking aids such as sticks or canes to support your joints.

3. Warm-up exercises

Before beginning your winter walk, perform gentle warm-up exercises for a few minutes. This can help loosen your muscles and joints, making moving more accessible and reducing the risk of injury. Simple stretches and range-of-motion exercises can make a big difference.

Plus, these strategies can help with managing joint and back pain

1. Heat therapy

Combat the chill with heat therapy. Applying a heating pad or warm compress to affected areas before and after your walks can help alleviate joint and back pain. Warm baths or showers can also be soothing and provide relief.

2. Stay active indoors

On days when the weather is particularly harsh, consider engaging in indoor exercises to keep your joints flexible. Activities like yoga or gentle stretching can contribute to joint mobility and well-being.

3. Pacing yourself

Listen to your body and pace yourself during walks. If you feel fatigued, don't hesitate to take breaks. Allow your dog some extra time to explore, allowing you to rest and recharge.

Remember that living with axSpA is a shared journey

Winter walks with our furry friends can be challenging and rewarding for individuals with axSpA. By implementing these strategies and embracing a proactive approach to managing joint and back pain, dog parents can make the most of their outdoor experiences.

Please share tips and strategies for dealing with joint and back pain during winter walks. Your insights may resonate with others facing similar challenges, creating a supportive community of individuals dedicated to managing axSpA effectively.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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