While it is important to stay active year-round to maintain a healthy lifestyle, there are certain things to keep in mind in order 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.
Stretching is important for any form of exercise; however, be sure to warm up before stretching by doing an activity, such as walking or jogging for five to ten minutes, to avoid muscle strains. Be sure to stretch before and after exercise and especially focus on areas/muscles that feel tight.
During this time of year, people are often thinking about New Year’s resolutions, which often include getting into a regular exercise routine.
You can set yourself up for success by setting realistic goals, and if you are beginning a workout routine for the first time, it is important to discuss this with your doctor to ensure your safety.
Beginners can start by doing an activity such as walking for five to ten minutes on even terrain a few times a week, and gradually build up frequency, duration and difficulty level of their workouts.
For those who already lead an active lifestyle, be sure to change up your workout routines to ‘confuse’ the muscles and reap the optimal benefit from exercise. For individuals wanting to begin an exercise program, talk to your doctor about a referral to physical therapy services.
Cone Health Outpatient Rehabilitation Services has an exceptional team of physical therapists that work with individuals throughout the community to develop safe exercise routines customized to each patient’s capabilities and needs.
Dr. Nikia Artis is a physical therapist at Cone Health Outpatient Rehabilitation Center on Church St.
Dr. Artis received a Bachelor of Science in exercise physiology and a Bachelor of Arts in English from East Carolina University in 2003.
She earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy in 2006 from Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, VA.