During winter, you tend to reduce your exercise as well as your incidental activity. Including stiffness, you might feel weak or even pain performing certain movements. This could be a result of muscle fatigue, poor muscle control or arthritic changes. If you decide to stop moving through the colder months, it can be harder to get going when spring arrives. Here are some top tips for staying active in winter:
You should never skip your warm up, particularly in the colder months, otherwise you’ll end up putting yourself at a higher risk of getting an injury. Similar to your vehicle in the morning, your body takes longer to warm up during colder months. A cold start can lead to injury while training without enough warm-up will lead to less blood flow to the muscles. Furthermore, your muscles will become less flexible plus your joints stiffer. That’s a bad combination for physical activities.
2) Keep Drinking a Lot of Water
In summer, when it is hot, you naturally feel the need to drink more. However, in winter, you often have a tendency of drinking less water, and without even knowing you become dehydrated. Dehydration leaves your body in less than perfect state and increases the risk of sickness. A 3% decrease in hydration of a muscle can decrease muscle strength by 10% so ensure you keep hydrated in winter.
3) Keep Moving
Once you’ve begun exercising, keep moving to make sure you stay warm. If you have rest breaks throughout your sport or training, ensure you do not stand still. You tend to cool down faster in cold weather. Also, if your joints and muscles cool down and become stiff, you are putting yourself at risk of getting an injury when you go back to training or even running back out on the field. If you are have stopped to take a break during play, you should still try to keep moving.
4) Set Smart Goals
Typically, goal setting is always essential to help maintain motivation, especially in winter. Smart goals are goals that are specific, measurable, timed and realistic. Goals help to motivate you and keep you focused on your health journey.
5) Exercise Around Lunchtime
When it is possible, choose noon or morning to schedule your training. That time of day is the warmest and when the sun is perfectly positioned to stimulate vitamin D production: vitamin D is important for strong joints and bones. In winter, most people suffer from vitamin D deficiency (hypovitaminosis D) so getting out in the sun will help increase these levels.
6) Eat Seasonally
Your body needs higher nutrient amounts at different seasons of the years. The different nutrients are naturally present in the foods that are grown naturally and available in that time of year. For instance, oranges (commonly in season during the winter) provide your body with the increased ascorbic acid (vitamin C) needed to help your immune system in fighting off winter colds plus infections.
7) Do Not Leave Yourself Vulnerable
After playing sport or training in the cold, retreat indoors and warm up immediately. Make sure you also replace any wet or dry clothes as soon as possible. Your immune system is often weak and vulnerable during colder months. Also, the stress that playing sport or training takes on your body makes you susceptible to getting run down as well as catching an infection or cold.
If you have stopped or reduced your exercise regime, seeing a sports and spinal physio will help you to get moving again. Turramurra Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy can create a programme for a series of well-organised sessions customised to your personal goals to help you go back to your best and be ready for spring.