How to Avoid Injuries During Your Winter Workouts
The temperatures have begun to drop, but that doesn't mean your motivation to work out has to dip as well. Exercising year-round is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but those chilly conditions don't make movements much easier to do.
Thankfully, there are a few seasonally specific tips to keep in mind that may help you stay safe during cold-weather workouts.
- Stretch First
Stretching before any workout is imperative for ensuring its success, but this step is especially important during the chillier months. Spend 10 to 15 minutes stretching your arms, legs and core before exercising in cold weather - this will get your blood pumping and warm up your muscles, both of which can continue to keep you warm during your workout.
- Stay Hydrated
You may think that because you're not working out underneath the warm summer sun you don't need to keep a bottle of water handy, but that statement couldn't be further from the truth. During the winter, it's equally - if not more - important that you keep water on hand while working out. Water can keep the body functioning and prevent muscles from becoming more prone to sprains or aches.
- Learn About Hypothermia
Did you know you can get hypothermia if it's just 40 degrees outside? Hypothermia occurs when your body can't produce enough heat to accommodate for the heat it's losing. To prevent this condition, brush up on your knowledge of hypothermia and take steps to keep your body covered when it starts to get cool.
- Layer Up
While you're working out, you'll be producing a lot of heat, but that doesn't mean you should be stretching in short shorts and tanks - layer up with long-sleeved thermal tees and tights, as these can keep your body temperature up when the exterior temperatures are down.
- Cover Sensitive Spots
Hats, gloves and earmuffs will be your best friends when exercising outdoors. Even if you don't think it's too cold outside, that wind chill can affect your sensitive spots and cause damage. Cover these areas before you go outside for maximum safety.
- Wind Down
Similar to your preworkout stretch, your wind-down is essential for saving your muscles from atrophy and aches. Save a few easy stretches for when your workout is complete, as these can keep your limbs loose and healthy. It may also be helpful to wind down with a heating pad on sore areas - like legs or the lower back - as this can further improve blood flow following a chilly workout.