Our top tips to avoid injuries over the cold winter months
Did you know that during winter the number of reported injuries increases significantly? This is due to a number of reasons such as the daylight hours getting much shorter and the weather getting colder and wetter, leading to slippy and hazardous conditions.
To help you avoid getting injured in the dark winter months, we have put together the below list of tips to help you stay fit and healthy!
1. Warm up
Your body is colder during winter, so it is crucial to warm up thoroughly before working up a sweat.
Make sure to take five minutes before your work out to do an active warm up, using every part of your body and make sure to get your heart rate up a bit too!
Some good pre-work out winter warm ups are:
- Skipping / jump rope
- Hamstring sweeps
- Arm rotations in both directions
- Walking lunges
- High knees
- Leg kicks
- Shadow boxing
2. Dress to the occasion
Although it may be easier to throw on the same old workout shorts and t-shirt, it is important to make sure that your extremities are staying warm – especially if you are exercising outside!
Invest in a good pair of long, breathable pants or thermal leggings for your winter walks and runs. Compression socks underneath your pants are also a great way to keep your calves warm and to avoid lower leg cramps while exercising.
Wear layers on your top half to keep your arms warm while you warm up. Try a long-sleeved exercise top with a removable fleece throw-over for when you really start to sweat.
If it gets really cold in the mornings, gloves and some extra-thick socks are a must have too, especially to avoid that cold burn sensation when you heat up again!
3. Give yourself more time
During winter, it is important to give yourself more time before and after your workouts so that you can make sure to warm up and cool down.
It is also a reality good idea to give yourself extra time for mobility exercises and stretching, outside of your normal exercises. Try to incorporate 15 minutes of Yoga a few times a week, or even a series of stretches while you watch your favourite TV show at night.
Yoga and stretching are not just to be used when your muscles are already sore, they are also great for active injury prevention.
4. If the shoe fits…
Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean you should wear them during winter!
Over winter it is essential to make sure you are wearing shoes with a good grip on the sole to avoid slips on wet or muddy surfaces.
5. Stick to the path more travelled
The glorious grassy field you walk or run on in summer usually turns into a mud pit over winter and is best avoided if you want to stay upright – and keep your new winter shoes clean!
Stay safe and keep to the designated paths and tracks over winter, particularly if you are outside in the dark.
6. Keep your hands out of your pockets
Walking or running with your hands in your pockets will decrease your balance and increase your chance of falls and slips.
Plus, if you do end up falling or slipping with your hands in your pockets you will be unable to put your hands out to break your fall, which can cause significant injury to other parts of your body.
7. Get your zzz’s!
Your body does its best work while you are asleep, mending itself as you rest. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep so that you can wake up feeling stronger and more refreshed the next day.
Plus, when you do sleep well you generally become more energised and alert, which can help with exercise and form, reducing potential future injuries.
How can we help you over winter?
During winter it is more common for muscles to seize up in the cold weather and cause trouble during your day-to-day activities. This means it is very important to get those ‘small niggles’ checked out before they become full on injuries. Be sure to book an appointment with us so that we can help you come up with some effective exercises and stretches to avoid injuries over the winter months.
We have a highly trained team who offer a full range of services across physiotherapy, remedial massage, podiatry, orthopaedic surgery and nutrition to make sure your body stays healthy and your mind stays happy over winter and beyond.