During the cold winter months, you may find that you seem more prone to injury while engaging in physical activity. There's a reason for this — your muscles are colder and tighter in chilly weather, which can make them more susceptible to strain and injury. In snowy and icy conditions, you also have an increased risk of falling or slipping, and the uneven surfaces take more energy to navigate.
Fortunately, you can follow these sport training safety tips to combat these risks with routines that help protect your body from the strain of the cold.
1. Don't Skip Your Warmup
Warmups are crucial for any exercise training to get your muscles ready. It's essential to warm up in a warm location, indoors if possible, before beginning your training outside. In particular, focus on warming your feet and knees so they can help you work harder once you start your routine. That way, your muscles will warm up before you go outside, and you'll save yourself the discomfort of frozen limbs in the cold weather.
2. Stay Warm
One of the most understated winter sport safety tips is to wear the right clothes. Having warm clothing can help keep your joints and muscles warm and prevent injury. Protect your shins, knees and feet with insulated clothing, and consider investing in a base layer underneath to double your warmth.
3. Use Traction
Having proper traction is important to reduce the risk of falls when training outside in the winter. One slip on an unexpected ice patch can cause serious injuries, so make sure you are prepared. When you go outside, bring all-weather shoes with good traction to keep you steady. If conditions are particularly icy, try adding a slip-on traction device to give yourself added protection.
4. Stay Hydrated
Just because it's cold doesn't mean you are not sweating and losing fluids. It's just as important to stay hydrated to prevent sports injury in the winter as in any other season. With the fluids and electrolytes to keep you going, you can boost your performance and protect your body from injuries.
5. Try Cross-Training
Your routine doesn’t need to be completely outdoors. If you're concerned about training outside during the winter, try integrating more cross-training into your practice. It will help you learn different skills, work with other muscle groups and give you alternatives for outdoor physical activity. From swimming to using an elliptical, you have many different options for indoor activities that will build your strength and endurance while reducing your risk of injury.
6. Develop a Post-Training Routine
Spending time on a cool-down routine or strength training can help prevent injuries related to winter sports training. Create a routine that works for you to slowly cool down your body after exercise. This winter exercise safety tip will minimize muscle tightness and help you transition to recovery.
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If you've recently experienced a sports injury or you're suffering from an old injury, reach out to Dr. Mufaddal Gombera. A board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Gombera has the expertise to offer compassionate, expert treatment for your injury.
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