By now you will be feeling the effects of winter. Heading out for a run on these stunning crisp days is good for the soul and great for your fitness. However, do you exercise in the cold without warming up? If you train at the gym, you most likely (hopefully) go on auto pilot and dutifully carry out a 10 minute warm-up on your chosen piece of cardio equipment, before jumping into your strength or mobility routine.
When you exercise in the cold without a proper warm-up you are at a higher risk of experiencing an injury. There is a shunting of blood away from the extremities, as the body attempts to prevent heat loss and keep the blood centrally localized. Research dating right back to 1945 suggests that carrying out a gentle, progressive warm-up will bring heat and blood back into the working muscles which will help reduce risk of injury. Check out our quick tips below!
Our quick tips:
#1. Wear layers of clothes to the gym that you can peel off as you warm-up.
#2. Stay hydrated, as the cold can affect how thirsty you feel.
#3. Warm-up for a minimum of 10 minutes, this can involve any piece of cardio equipment or gentle dynamic warm-up movements.
#4. Before going back outside into the cold, layer back up with dry clothing if possible. Sweat on exposed skin will increase heat loss, so try to wipe down sweat if you’re going back outside without all your limbs covered up!
#5. Head to https://accsportsmart.co.nz/warmup/ for some fantastic ideas for your next warmup from the ACC SmartSport warmup.
Article by Kristina Driller, UniRec Sport and Rehabilitation consultant