Fitness After 50: Wacky weather, funky feelings & fitness


By Vicki Morgan

Colorado Springs is kind of a crazy place, especially in the springtime.

There’s a good reason John Denver sang about the Colorado “Rocky Mountain High.” Even the best meteorologists can’t predict what weather is comin’ ‘round the mountain, but our bodies sometimes can. Consider yourself lucky if your knees ache three days before a snowstorm.

Friends may scoff at you because you’re super sensitive, but it’s a blessing – not a curse. I am one of those hypersensitive people. I feel the effects of chemicals, radioactive frequencies and barometric pressure more than almost anyone I know. Fluorescent lights, WiFi and 5G technology make me dizzy. People think I’m nuts. But I prefer to think of myself as blessed.

So yesterday it was 80 degrees, sunny, and dare I say … HOT. Today it’s 37, windy, cloudy and I’m SURE I saw some snow. What is my body doing through all of this? Freaking out, that’s what. But even though my body has a complete meltdown due to the unpredictable atmosphere of Colorado Springs, I force myself to exercise nonetheless. I do NOT let those “icky feelings” get in the way of my fitness plan. And neither should you.

Colorado Springs’ unique atmospheric conditions can cause a whole bunch of worrisome symptoms. If you have any serious concerns about these symptoms, you’ll want to consult your health care provider. For me, I prefer to push through these annoyances. If I can just get moving, I feel better overall.

Alan Versaw of Colorado XC Mile Split describes the atmosphere as something like a stack of bath towels. “Once the towels are stacked, compression starts to take place. The weight of the stack compresses the towels in the stack. The towels at the bottom of the stack bear more weight and thus become more compressed than the towels higher in the stack.”

He explains that at sea level, the air is compressed by 6,000 more vertical feet of atmosphere than the air in Colorado Springs.

The oxygen molecules are much more readily available and a heck of a lot denser at sea level than they are here. So if you feel like you’re swimming upstream like a salmon all the time, it’s because your body is fighting for oxygen. The atmosphere that supports life is actually only 3 miles high. We are, quite literally, living in a fishbowl.

Every part of our bodies is susceptible to symptoms of wacky weather. Air density, temperature, air pressure, precipitation, wind, ice … all of it affects our joints, muscles, oxygen intake, stability, hearing, perception, hydration, blood pressure, digestion, mood and pain. Our joints, muscles, ears and organs are filled with fluid, and therefore can detect atmospheric changes and react to them.

Surgical scars, arthritic joints, middle ear, migraine and seizure sufferers will likely feel the effects of oncoming weather. Chronic fatigue can kick in. Blood can thicken, which may affect your blood sugar levels. Many of these symptoms are short-lived, but miserable nonetheless.

Dr. Robert Jamison of Livestrong explains that during the onset of wet weather, bodily tissues including muscles and bones will adjust by abruptly expanding to varying degrees. This abrupt expansion triggers the nerves, which send out pain signals, which leads to the sensation of pain in that area of the body.

I’ll be honest with you … it’s difficult to push through the moods, aches and pains that come and go with wacky weather. But the results are worth it. I have personally found that if I stick to my exercise plan, the atmospheric conditions don’t affect me as much. If I’m not feeling up to snuff, I can still benefit from some cardio, light weights and maybe a nice walk. If I succumb to every whim and fancy of my super-sensitivity and choose to hibernate like a couch potato, I feel worse and worse.

Oxygen is what I need. If you’re feeling negative effects of wacky weather, I encourage you to get moving and fight back against the tide – with your doctor’s permission, of course. See you in the gym!

Vicki Morgan A.C.E. is a Senior Strength & Fitness Trainer at Flex Gym and Fitness. She is also a professional blog writer and audio podcast producer. Consult a physician before beginning any exercise program. If you experience pain or difficulty, stop and consult your healthcare provider. This article is not meant to take the place of any treatment or activity your physician has deemed necessary.


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