Top tips for avoiding a sports injury in Winter.
Winter is an important time for those sports enthusiasts looking to get ready for their next challenge. Even though most sporting events tend to take place during spring and summer, such as the Run For All half marathon in Leeds and the White Rose Classic cycling event in Ilkley, training in the winter months is hard to avoid.
The cold winter weather can make outdoor sports and exercise much tougher on the body, so it’s important that you take careful measures to make sure you’re looking after yourself. This will not only help you maximise your performance, but will also help you avoid any injuries that could stop you taking part all together.
Here are our top tips to avoid injury and keep safe while exercising outside in the colder months:
Check the forecast and weather conditions before going outside. Even though rain and cloud is certainly a given in this country(!), wind chill is one to watch out for as it will make it feel much colder. Exercising in the cold without being suitably prepared can cause a rapid decrease in muscle temperature, which can have a big impact on your performance. If it’s going to be too cold, don’t be afraid to reschedule your training activity.
Wearing thick clothing when exercising can be a problem when your body starts to generate heat, as you can start to feel too hot. When sweat evaporates it pulls with it heat from the body so you can start to feel a chill. By wearing lots of thin layers you can take them off when you start to warm up and put them back on to suit your body temperature.
Don’t forget about your hands, feet and ears. Your body heat naturally concentrates on your core (which you should have wrapped up anyway), leaving these parts of your body more vulnerable. Avoid keeping them exposed by wearing a hat, gloves and suitable socks and shoes.
Stretch it out
Warming up is crucial for any workout, but it’s particularly important before a wintery one. Complete your usual warm up inside so when you go out into the cold your blood will already be flowing and your heart rate will be up.
Keep hydrated as usual. You’d be wrong to think that dehydration only takes place in the warmer months, in fact it’s just as important during winter. When you work out in colder weather your lungs work harder than normal to humidify and warm up the cold air you breathe in. Therefore, it’s just as important to drink fluids to keep your body hydrated. Top tip – put lukewarm water in your bottle to avoid it getting too cold outside and to help keep your internal temperature at its optimum.
Follow these tips and you will minimise your chance of a sports related injury as well as ensure your performance doesn’t dip just because of the weather.
Too late for top tips?
If you do find yourself with a sports injury, make sure seek medical advice if:
The pain doesn't start to improve within a few weeks
The pain stops you doing your day-to-day activities
The pain is very severe or gets worse over a short period of time
You're worried about the pain or are struggling to cope
You can see your GP, who will ask about your symptoms, examine the injured area, and discuss possible treatments. They may refer you to a specialist doctor or a physiotherapist for further help.
Alternatively, you may want to consider approaching a healthcare professional directly for private treatment.
Here at LivingCare we have expertise in sports injury diagnosis and care. Our average wait time for an appointment in 2017 was just two days, so you’ll get your injury seen to quickly.