Warming up before physical activity is good way to avoid unnecessary injuries and is very important during wintertime. The cold tightens the muscles making them less responsive and increasing the risk of injury when participating in popular winter sports such as ice hockey, sledding, or skiing. Here are some winter warm up tips to avoid injury:
- Low intensity aerobic activity: A brisk walk, jogging in place, jumping jacks, or any activity where all the major muscles and joints are moving are good examples of low intensity activity that will raise your heart rate and core body temperature.
- Sport-specific exercises: These exercises should closely resemble the movements you will perform while playing the sport. The idea is to slowly increase blood flow to the muscles and joints so they can work more efficiently.
- Dynamic Stretching: Shoulder rolls, leg swings, and twisting movements of the torso can help reduces stiffness and improve range of motion. These movements should be done in a controlled manner and after a general warm-up, otherwise you could tear a muscle.
- Duration of your warm-up: How long your warmup should take will depend on the intensity of your activity and how cold the weather conditions are. When exercising for general fitness, a 5 to 10-minute warmup should be enough. In very cold weather or when preparing for a very intense activity, you would need to warm-up for 15 minutes or longer.
A good indication that you are warmed up is when you have broken into a light sweat, and your breathing and heart rate seem to be slightly elevated. These signs indicate your body is well primed for the higher demands that will be placed on it while playing sports or any physical activities you enjoy.
Dr. Frisch is a specialist orthopedic surgeon focusing on minimally invasive hip and knee joint replacement as well as regenerative treatments for enhanced healing. He believes in creating a very personalized experience with the highest level of service. For all appointments & inquiries, please contact our offices located in Rochester and River District, MI.