WINTER WORKOUT TIPS FROM YOUR PHYSICAL THERAPIST
While it might be difficult to drag yourself out of your warm bed this winter season, it’s still a good reminder to get up and move those muscles. Heading outdoors is still a good way to stay fit not to mention invigorating. We highly suggest that you keep your exercise routine no matter the season to stay in shape, not only to look good but to maintain flexibility, muscle strength, and of course to maintain a healthy weight.
Wintertime can be fun but also dangerous since we are inclined to try snowboarding, ice skating, and sledding. We also spend time shoveling snow and lifting objects-with these activities alone, we can already put a strain and injure our back.
Being outdoors during winter is a great time to workout and take in Vit. D in the form of sunlight which improves our mood and well-being altogether. Just don’t stay under the sun for too long. Protect your skin first. Experts in the CDC say that winter exercises boost immunity during the cold season. Just a few minutes a day can be beneficial to prevent simple bacterial and viral infections. Your Physical Therapist will assist you in figuring out how your body mechanisms work, and come up with a daily or weekly exercise plan suited for your individual needs.
Here are some of their tips to keep you safe during your winter workout:
- Check the weather before heading out
One of the things that we forget is to check the weather forecast. You’re ready to run and then you head out the door only to find out that it’s bad. Keeping an eye on the weather helps us in dressing up for the climate.
The wind chill is a measure of how low the temperature is. If it’s low, you might want to reconsider staying indoors to exercise since your skin can be exposed to frostbite.
- Stay Hydrated- Drink Water!
It doesn’t matter what season it is, you have to stay hydrated! Exercising during the season doesn’t mean you don’t sweat. Drink your water during and after your workout. The humidity during the cold season is also dehydrating.
- Cover up
Wear clothes according to the weather, Wearing layers is important for your body temperature to regulate properly. Here’s a tip, make sure you wear layers that you can easily remove and keep with you comfortably while working out or running for example.
Your physical therapist would likely suggest that you wear a base layer of synthetic wicking material to keep you warm. Avoid cotton since sweat won’t evaporate quickly. Next, a layer of fleece or wool for insulation, top with a windproof material. Of course, you can never go wrong in using a hat or headband and a pair of gloves.
- Don’t forget to warm-up and cool down
A very basic tip but so important nonetheless. Need I say more? A good warm-up is important to prepare your muscles and joints for the workout. During the cold season, make sure to warm up until you’re a little sweaty. Why? It’s to prevent injury and it basically prepares your heart for the exertion. You can ask your Physical therapist for the best warm-up exercises for you. It may be stretching’s, a slow jog, or jumping rope, it will all depend on your current health situation.
- Don’t run for the speed
Safety is still your main concern here. Running or exercising too fast is not recommended during winter. It can be harmful since you are more prone to injury. Find a comfortable speed or pace and stick to it. If running is out of the question due to harsh weather, better workout indoors. Your trusty treadmill will give you the same result.
You can be creative with your workout during winter. Your physical therapist is always available to help you out. Remember, your goal to stay healthy and fit is the same as what your PT wants for you, but safety is always the priority.