Injury Prevention Tips for Winter
With winter comes shorter days, frigid temperatures, comfort foods and of course, the urge to hibernate indoors. But long periods of inactivity, coupled with over-indulgence, can decrease your fitness level. The good news is there are plenty of ways you can stay healthy and fit with steps to prevent injury this winter season.
While it might be tempting to stay curled up in front of the TV during the colder months, you will feel better in the long run if you get up and get moving. In fact, you can use this opportunity to get creative and think outside the box because cold weather should never stand between you and fitness.
Here are some injury prevention tips that will help you stay active and healthy all winter long:
1. Find a Winter-Friendly Hobby
Who said injury prevention has to be boring? If you find yourself using the cold weather as an excuse to cut back on your exercise routine, consider finding a fun and active new hobby that you can do throughout the winter months.
Whether it's learning how to snowboard or simply doing yoga in the mornings, keep your mind and body active to avoid the aches and pains that often accompany a sedentary lifestyle.
2. Leave Your Comfort Zone
Many people become less active in the winter months because they can't do what they are used to doing when it's warm outside. Take this chance to explore new possibilities and other ways of staying active. Here are some examples:
- Dance lessons
- Ice skating
- Boot camp training
- Martial arts
Look into different options in your community and take a risk by trying something you'd never thought of doing before. This will not only help to keep your body active but your mind as well.
3. Make the Small Things Count
Every bit of physical activity helps and there are plenty of small things you can do that can end up having a big impact.
Mundane tasks like shoveling, cleaning, vacuuming and even playing in the snow can help keep your body in tip-top shape all year around. What's more, the cold weather causes your body to work extra hard and therefore you burn more calories when it's cold outside. That is assuming we ever get snow this winter.
Warming up vs. Stretching
Despite what many people think, warming up and stretching are not the same. When you warm up for an exercise, you should focus on activating all of the specific muscles that will be used in your workout, along with raising your body temperature with cardiovascular movement. Instead of stretching in place, add movements like jumping jacks and leg kicks into your warm-up routine.
Static stretching can also be part of a larger routine. Following exercise, when your muscles are warm, a round of stretching helps to keep your body pliable and injury free. It is especially important to develop a warm up and cool down routine during the winter. Your muscles will take longer to wake up because of the cold temperatures.
Injury Prevention and Safety Tips
No workout routine is complete without taking the proper precautions, especially when you're dealing with cold temperatures and unpredictable weather. Carefully review the following list of safety tips to make your fitness routine as safe and effective as possible.
- Always carry your cell phone
- Dress in layers whenever you go outside
- Tell your friends and family where you are going and when you'll be back
Staying active and healthy in the winter can be challenging but don't let Jack Frost scare you away from staying active. Using the injury prevention tips listed above can go a long way in helping you avoid common injuries and illnesses during the cold winter months that lay ahead.