Each season requires specific considerations when it comes to exercising and staying healthy. Keep the following tips in mind to help you avoid injuries while working out during the winter.
Cold muscles are more likely to get injured, which makes it vital to warm up before working out, wear protective clothing and stretch after working out. While it is imperative to bundle up while exercising in cold and damp weather, it is also important not to become overheated.
Change your footwear. Just like you need to make sure your car has the right tires for the right season, unless you have all-weather shoes, make sure you increase your traction when it is wet and cold outside. Shoes that are well worn may not have sufficient tread to grip wet pavement, grass or soil. You also need to make sure that your shoes are sufficiently waterproof.
You should also waterproof your sportswear, whether it is your shoes, jacket, shirt or workout pants. The last thing you want to do is get chilled and stress your body when working out. Damp and cold muscles are more likely to become injured.
Switch to room temperature water from ice cold water. There is a philosophy in traditional medicine that as the seasons move towards fall and winter, raw and cold foods should be replaced with cooked and warm foods. The last thing you want your body to have to do is expend energy warming the cold water in your digestive tract when it is already cool or cold outside.
Do not work out when it is below 45 °F/7 °C outside or stay out too long. Listen to your body: cold air entering the lungs can trigger asthma (airway restriction) and cause stress on your heart. In fact, more heart attacks occur while doing the same level of exercise at both extremes of temperature, whether excessively cold or hot. Listen to your intuition and use common sense: if it seems too cold outside or there are few people exercising outdoors, there is a reason.
By taking the proper precautions,wintertime can be a great time to work out and stay in shape.
Written by Dr. Chris Meletis