As the cold weather approaches and the daylight hours get shorter, the motivation to go outside and exercise may start to dwindle.
For those of you who can muster the effort to get outside, exercising in the cold can be really exhilarating.
Isn’t there an increased incidence of injury during the winter though?
Well, there’s not a discernible body of evidence on this, not if you don’t count the increased participation in winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, which are very high risk sports. If we’re just talking going out for a run here the main things to consider are:
- Be seen
Obviously as it gets darker, your visibility to drivers is reduced. So make sure you wear reflective clothing, you may also want to use small LEDs that attach to your outer layer.
Warmer muscles and tendons are more pliable, or stretchy. Whilst it might be tempting to just get out and get going in the cold weather, don’t miss your warm up. Setting off in a sudden sprint with ‘cold’ muscles might result in a strain.
- Watch out for slippy surfaces
Again, this sounds obvious. With the cold comes ice and snow. If you’re keen to run/walk/jog in this weather, consider your selection of footwear. Trail shoes have a deeper tread compared to regular running shoes, which means that you can achieve more grip in the snow.
My knees ache in the winter
During the winter months people with ‘wear and tear’ in their joints often complain of aching. For people with osteoarthritic changes in the knees and hips, exercise is really important to keep the muscles that support the joint in good condition. If exercise ceases, these muscles can lose their strength and support and this can make the aching and pain worse. So whenever you can, keep exercising. The considerations listed above are just as important here, and the warm up and avoidance of slipper surfaces even more so! Warming up properly will not only help your muscles, it will help take some of the stiffness out of the joint and make the exercise less uncomfortable. And if it’s slippery outside, find and alternative indoor activity.
Incidentally, if you’re really struggling with your knee(s) due to ‘wear and tear’, there is a fantastic brace that you can wear that takes the strain off the side of the knee that’s most painful, which then makes exercise, and daily life less painful.
If you want to know more about injury, prevention and how to deal with painful joints, or to book an appointment, get in touch with Dr Claire Minshull, Rehabilitation & Conditioning Specialist by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet: @Claire_Minshull