Staying warm this winter

01 November 2019
Hands holding a hot drink.

Many people with arthritis report that their symptoms get worse when the weather is cold and damp. Here are our top tips for staying warm this winter and reducing your symptoms:

Wear suitable clothing

Wearing layers and loose layers of clothing work better at trapping the heat than thicker clothes. Wearing thicker socks or two pairs (as long as they’re not too tight) not only helps to keep your feet warm but also provides extra cushioning under your soles.

Many slippers, shoes and boots are available with sheepskin or synthetic fur linings to help keep your feet warm. It’s easier to keep your feet warm when the rest of your body is warm.

Try hand warmers or heated gloves, and reduce the amount of heat you lose through your head by wearing a hat.

Keep your home warm

The NHS recommends that you should heat your home to at least 18C if you have reduced mobility, are 65 or over or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease. Use draft excluders and close your curtains at dusk to help keep heat in.

Older people could get help to pay heating bills through the Winter Fuel Payment scheme. If you’re getting certain benefits, you could also be entitled to Cold Weather Payments.

Use a hot-water bottle or electric blanket to keep your bed warm. Using a hot-water bottle or microwaveable wheat bag can also help to ease stiffness.

The hot water bottle has made pain management so much easier. Because it wraps around it’s so much easier to use and wear it and forget you’ve got it on. I suffer badly from lower back pain and wear it at my desk, especially good at this time of year.


Find out more about how the YuYu hot water bottle helps Ellen on cold days.

A warm bath or shower before bed will help to warm you up will also help to ease stiff and painful joints.

Keep active

Exercise will improve your circulation and help to keep you warmer. The weather might put you off doing long outdoor walks but there are many indoor options, like doing a yoga class, trying aerobics or using a treadmill.

Read our advice on keeping active and you can find more winter tips on our online community.

Eat well

Make sure you eat well. You need energy from food to stay warm, so try to have regular hot meals and drinks. Find out more about diet and arthritis.

Check out our top tips and advice to help make healthy cooking at home a little easier.

It’s wise to be careful with alcohol in the cold. If you’ve drunk too much alcohol and you go out into the cold, your body sends heat away from the core of your body to warm up the blood vessels and skin at the surface of your body.

Avoid smoking

If you smoke it can make your circulation worse because it narrows the blood vessels. Poorer circulation in your fingers and toes will make your hands feel colder.

Your Facebook tips

On Facebook we had a great response from you on what things have helped you. We wanted to include the themes here so more people can benefit from the advice. Keep them coming by adding your comments on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

  • Try thermals and layers, including leggings and bed socks
  • Wrap up with a scarf, hat and gloves and you could try hand heat pads
  • Hot water bottle or microwavable wheat bag
  • Warming foods like soups with lots of vegetables

Find the support you need

We’re here whenever you need us. If you want help, support or information, get in touch.