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Winter Wellness: Holiday fitness and exercising in the cold

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To help avoid the weight gain many individuals experience over the holiday season, it is important to pair dietary moderation with a fitness plan. If traveling out of town for the holidays, prepare yourself to be active by packing exercise clothing. Be realistic with your plan, and try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity into each day. When it comes to exercise, every little bit counts. Because holiday schedules tend to get hectic, it is often helpful to break up your workouts into increments throughout the day.

There are certain things to keep in mind to remain safe and avoid injury when exercising during the cold, winter months. First, it is important to wear proper clothing when exercising outside in cold weather. Layers are important: wear an undershirt, lightweight jacket and heavier jacket, as well as a hat, gloves and socks that rise above the ankles. Wear layers of wicking material, and avoid traditional cotton clothing. Look for a pair of running shoes that are made from thicker material to keep your feet insulated.

The cold weather puts extra stress on your body, and warming up before an outdoor activity in the cold will help prevent injury. Examples of a warm-up include 5 to 10 minutes of walking or jogging. A cold muscle is like a frozen elastic band, it can snap and cause injury. This is why warming up is important. After warming up and after you’ve completed your outdoor exercise, make sure to stretch, and especially focus on areas/muscles that feel tight.

Spokesperson Background:

Seth Christopher is a health and fitness specialist at Cone Health. He received a Bachelor of Arts in exercise and sport science in 2012 and a Master of Science in health and exercise science from Wake Forest University in 2015. He is certified as a clinical exercise physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine, and is also a certified ergonomics assessment specialist.