Staying fit and injury free over winter
As the temperature drops and the days become shorter, it’s easy to let our physical activity levels slip. However, remaining active during the cold winter months can bring numerous benefits, including injury prevention.
One of the key benefits of staying active in the winter is that it helps to keep our joints and muscles strong, resilient, and healthy. When we spend long periods sitting or standing in the same position, our muscles can become tight and stiff, making us more prone to injury. Regular exercise, even if it’s just a short walk or gentle stretching, helps to keep our muscles and joints flexible and less likely to become injured.
Another way that staying active can help to prevent injury is by improving our balance and coordination. Slippery, icy conditions can make it easy to lose our footing and fall, leading to broken bones, sprains, and other injuries. However, regular exercise that focuses on balance and stability, such as gym work or Pilates, can help to improve our ability to navigate tricky terrain and stay upright.
In addition to preventing injuries, staying active during the winter months can also have a positive impact on our mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters, and can help to combat the winter blues that many people experience. Remaining physically active is also incredibly beneficial to our immune system, making us less susceptible to colds and other illnesses. Exercise has been shown to increase the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infections and disease. Additionally, regular exercise can help to reduce inflammation in the body, which has been linked to a range of chronic health conditions.
If you’re new to exercise, or haven’t exercised in a while, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. This will help to prevent injury and ensure that you’re getting the most benefit from your exercise routine.
It is certainly not easy to remain physically active in the Ballarat winters, but it is important to allow us to remain healthy. By keeping our muscles and joints supple, improving our balance and coordination, and boosting our immune system, regular exercise can help to keep us healthy and happy during the winter season. Whether you prefer indoor activities, such as yoga or gym work, or outdoor activities, walking, running, or cycling, there are plenty of ways to stay active and reap the benefits of physical activity all winter long. Just remember to take precautions to avoid injury and start slowly if you’re new to exercise or haven’t exercised in a while.
Kieran Toohey Senior Physiotherapist Lake Health Group