When the weather starts to cool down, there are a few important precautions to take to maximize the health of your body. One of the most important things to remember in cold weather is to warm up properly and never start off at one hundred percent effort.
To improve your workout performance in the cold, avoid these common injuries:
1. The Hamstring Pull
A hamstring pull is often due to a muscle imbalance between the quadriceps and the hamstrings. When the weather is cold and the muscle is not warmed up, it can really wreak havoc on the hamstrings, especially if you are doing sprint work or any type of intense running outdoors. Make sure to do a dynamic warm up (see below) until you feel loose before you do anything strenuous outdoors.
2. The Lower Back
Common, everyday things could injure your back, especially in cold weather, including outdoor sports, helping a friend move or lifting heavy objects without paying attention to your form. Some warm up exercises to prepare yourself for activity would be supermans (laying on your stomach and raising your arms and legs, 10-15 reps), light deadlifts, light alternating toe touches and stretching out your core in addition to doing a dynamic warm up.
3. The Shoulders
The best way to warm up your shoulders is to do arm circles, wall push-ups, actual push-ups, shoulder presses with no weight and of course doing dynamic stretching. The key things is to make sure you have warmed up your shoulders in all angles of how it would be used so you are not just abruptly using those muscles and causing an injury.
What is dynamic stretching/warm up?
In grade school, the stretching you learned was probably to hold a certain position for 20-40 seconds. This is called static stretching. While this may have some benefits, dynamic stretching may actually be more beneficial for avoiding injury.
Dynamic warm ups involve moving your limbs and joints through their range of motion, stretching them through movement, not statically. This often means doing the movements of your exercise without weights. Other examples include alternating knee raises and arm raises. If you’re going to do a back workout, stand with feet shoulder-width apart, with arms extended in front of you, palms together. Slowly twist your torso left and right, keeping your arms extended. As a secondary warm up, bring your hands down near your feet in squatting position, and then stand and raise your hands above your head.
Fitness advisor: Greg Marshall
Greg Marshall is the founder of Fiture Personal Training and has helped thousands of clients through personal training, corporate training, group training, and nutritional coaching services. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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