While the mornings and evenings are cold and dark, it’s no wonder that many of us feel like hanging up our sportswear and hibernating for winter, but staying active at this time of year is a fantastic way to fight off the winter blues and feel energetic, making it much easier to get up and out of the house in the morning, or after work.
Here are some quick tips to help you stay safe and avoid injury when you are exercising this winter:
Tell someone where you are going
If you are going out for a long run or bike ride at winter, make sure you tell someone where you are going. Even if you are only going for a quick session, it’s always safest to let someone else know.
Dressing in the wrong clothing is a common mistake. Exercise quickly generates heat, making you feel as though it is warmer than it really is, however, as your sweat evaporates, heat is pulled from your body, leaving you feeling chilled. The solution is to dress in layers that you can remove when you start to sweat and put back on when you feel cold.
Firstly, avoid cotton as this stays wet next to your skin – instead, start with a base layer of synthetic material that draws sweat away from your body. Next, wear a fleecy layer, and then a layer of breathable, waterproof clothing.
Wear a hat, gloves and thick socks
We lose around 50% of body heat from our head, so a hat is essential when you are exercising in the winter. You should also look after your extremities, wearing gloves and thick, thermal socks to keep your fingers and toes warm. If you are worried about your hands getting too sweaty, wear a pair of glove liners underneath a pair of heavier gloves and remove the heavier gloves when your hands feel too warm.
Drink plenty of fluids
Keeping hydrated is just as important in cold weather as it is during the summer. Be sure to drink fluids before, during and after your workout, even if you don’t feel thirsty. You can actually become dehydrated in the cold when you sweat, breathe hard and produce more urine, however, it can be harder to notice in cold conditions.
Don’t forget reflective clothing
If you are exercising in the morning or evening, you will certainly need reflective clothing to ensure that you are visible in the dark. If you ride a bike, ensure that you fit it with headlights and tail lights. Remember, it gets dark early at this time of year, so if you are planning to be out for a while in the afternoon, make sure you are prepared for it to get dark.
It’s absolutely vital to spend time stretching your muscles before you exercise in order to avoid injury. Ensure you make enough time to be fully warmed up before you start your workout. You should also make sure to warm down properly when you finish your workout.
Get warm quickly when you finish your workout
When you back from exercising, your first priority should be to get warm by taking a hot shower or bath, or changing into clean, warm clothing.
If you are suffering from injuries or aches and pains that are preventing you from exercising, or are worried about getting injured when exercising, osteopaths can not only treat different symptoms and conditions, but they can also provide advice on exercises and how to prevent the recurrence of injury.
Call 0121 705 4499 to book an appointment with one of our team of osteopaths.