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Lifestyle by Gabrielle Bauer HEALTHIER TO THE BONE This four-part series explores the many ways in which heading south improves your health. In this third instalment, we focus on the benefits to your musculoskeletal system. W e all know that cars have more trouble starting up in the cold. Human bodies are no different. The cold stiffens you up, while warmth brings a host of benefits to your frame. As far as your muscles and joints are con- cerned, skipping the winter spells relief. You’re not imagining it: your joints really do hurt more in the cold. In a survey of almost 2,500 people living in the U.K., those who completed the questionnaire on warmer, sunnier days reported significantly less pain than others. Scientists don’t fully understand why, but research suggests that, in an attempt to conserve heat in wintry temperatures, the body sends more blood to its core and less to the arms and legs. Less blood flow to these areas makes the joints colder and stiffer (read, more painful). Low temperatures may also thicken the fluid inside your joints, leading to the stiffness familiar to so many of us. 38 | www. snowbirds .org