8 Secrets To Help Avoid Injuries In Winter
Don't get trapped inside this Winter, try some of these tips to help avoid injuries in the cold weather.
It’s tough finding the motivation to exercise and train as we start to enter the colder months. Whilst many of us prefer to stay in our warm beds and avoid injuries, continuing to stay active during Winter is important and there are a number of ways to avoid injuries and remain pain free with these simple tips...
Warm Up Key Injury Prone Areas
A Warm Up is one of the most important and essential components before starting any exercise. Warming up helps loosen your joints and get the blood flowing to prepare your body for exercise. Try to do exercises that relate to the activity you are about to commence with and include dynamic stretching for a full body warm up and improved range of motion.
Some essential stretches to start with are: Calf/Hamstring Stretch, Shoulder Stretch, Upper Back Stretch and Quad Stretch
Wear Suitable Clothing & Footwear
Before heading out, check the weather to determine how wet, cold or windy it will be. It’s important to be comfortable and wear appropriate attire for your workout. Lightweight layers are the best way to go as these can be easily added to or removed as you become warmer and exercise intensity increases.
It is best not to make any drastic changes to your footwear as your running style becomes suited to the shoes you wear. Stick with your old faithful runners for now and if you really want a change, ensure you get a shoe fitted just for you.
Ensure you also wear light coloured, visible clothing so you don't disappear in the dark!
Stay Hydrated Before & During Exercise
It is important to continue to maintain your fluid intake no matter what the weather is doing as you can still become dehydrated in the cold. Whilst you might not feel like you are sweating, you continue to lose water through sweat and breathing when exercising. Any lost fluid needs to be replaced as it can lead to fatigue, which increases the likelihood of poor technique and delayed recovery resulting in injury. Also, try to avoid caffeine as it can make you dehydrated.
Know Your Limits - Don't Go Beyond Your Means
If you have suffered from an injury or condition in the past or have one currently, you may need to consider how this will affect your current workout session. Ensure you are aware of where your weaknesses may be so you can tailor a workout that won’t be too strenuous on these areas of the body. Protective strapping or supports and braces can assist with preventing injury or re-injury in the specific area.
See our Complete guide to medical tapes & bandages for strapping techniques or view our range here along with our supports and braces range.
Don't Become a Weekend Warrior Only
Are you looking outside thinking it's too dark and cold to exercise before or after work during the week? If you save all your exercise for the weekend, this increases your risk of suffering an injury. Exercising more than once a week conditions your body to that sport or workout, which reduces the risk of injury so try to get out there 2-3 times a week.
Train with a friend to keep you motivated. You won't want to let them down.
It's Ok To Exercise Indoors If It's Raining
You can still do your exercise routine if it's raining outside! Whether it's in your living room or at your local gym, investigate your options the day before if the weather isn't looking good. There are plenty of training programs and Fitness Apps out there if you need to modify your routine. Ensure it is still similar or close to your current exercise to reduce the risk of injuring muscles that haven't been used before.
Don't use excuses!
Warm/Cool Down Worked Muscles
Warming down is just as important as the warm up to avoid injuries. Exercise puts your body through a number of stresses where muscle fibers, tendons and ligaments can become damaged. A warm down helps the body to return to a pre-exercise level and promotes recovery by assisting in the repair process. It will also assist with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Try gentle exercise, stretching and ensure you re-fuel for an effective warm down.
Stretching can increase flexibility and range of motion. Try to target muscles that you have specifically worked during your exercise to feel the full benefits.
Cool down stretches for cycling, running, circuit training and general exercise can be found here.
Recovery - Secret Ingredient is Sleep
No matter the time of year, it is essential to allow your body to recover before your next workout session. Without adequate recovery time, your risk of injury increases as your body will still be fighting muscle soreness. Sleep, sleep and more sleep is the best medicine for muscle repair along with using ice or heat packs on the injured/sore areas. Have a rest day every second day unless you are feeling particularly sore still, if so then give it another day.
See our range of foam rollers to assist with your recovery.
Now that you’re armed with all the best tips on how to prevent injuries during Winter, there’s no excuse not to brave the cold. Motivate yourself and be inspired to stay active and fit during Winter to reap the health benefits leading into Summer.