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Your Guide to Avoiding Autumn/Winter Sports Injuries

As the mornings begin to offer the crispness and brisk chill the more the autumn and winter seasons set in, it’s important to remember that when exercising, a good warm-up is essential to avoid injury.

Just because it’s cold outside does not give you the excuse to stop getting outdoors, in fact, I personally prefer the colder months to exercise as I don’t get overly hot and I can get a better kind of sweat on. Hibernating during the winter is the easy way out, so whether it’s a quick jog around the park before or after work, smashing the gym up, or preparing for a specific sport/activity, it’s important that your body is well prepared.

A woman stretching before going running

The cold weather means that your body will more than likely react to the colder weather, causing your muscles to seize up, or take longer to feel loose. This is because cold muscles do not operate at their full potential; with your range of motion and potential strength limited, it becomes even more paramount to adequately warm up your muscles. By doing this, you’re allowing them to become more flexible and mobile, which prepares them for the exercise/activity you’re about to do.

 

children enjoy exercise

What is a Warm-up?

For those who are new to exercise, those who have flouted the opportunity to get themselves properly prepared, a general warm-up should be made up of dynamic stretches and a five-minute jog at the very least.

Experts have revealed in recent research that a five-minute cardio warm-up had the same effect as no warm up at all. Yikes! So, taking on board what we’ve just learnt, what is an effective warm-up? Well, the best warm-up routine was found to be low-intensity workouts, that last for around fifteen minutes; this allows your body temperature to rise without causing fatigue before you get to your activity.

Bodyweight mobility exercises are a good option, mostly because these types of stretches can improve muscular performance. They’re good for increasing your heart rate, but don’t bring on fatigue like some other warm-up techniques. What’s more, you can tweak the intensity to suit your level which will help give you an effective session.

No one likes being injured – I know all about this – and sometimes it can feel like we’re turning into chocolate in front of a warm fire, so with this in mind, I’ve put together a handful of best ways to warm-up during the colder months. These exercises can be used for any sport, and it’s a nice general warm-up routine that should help you to avoid an injury.

 

What Effective Warm-ups I Can Do in Autumn/Winter?

Below is an example of a mobility-boosting warm-up routine. Things to remember before you start;

  • Start slow
  • Gradually pick up the speed as you move to each exercise
  • Follow this list in order; they’re in intensity order

To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent, and feet planted hip-width apart, and here we go!

Bridge lift:

Take a nice deep breathe in, slowly lift your hips as high as you can and then exhale while lowering your hips back down. Repeat this exercise three to five times.

 

Roll-ups:

From the previous exercise, roll up into a seated position on your next inhale. On the exhale, roll back down. Do these three to five times and make sure that you finish in a seated position.

 

Cat Stretch:

Go to your hands and knees (like a cat, surprisingly!). On your exhale drop your tailbone, so that your back arches. On the next inhale lift your back, making sure to roll your shoulders back as your chest opens. Repeat this for a further three times.

 

Prayer Pose Stretch:

Exhale whilst walking your hands forward and ensure that your hips are still as your chest falls toward the floor. Then make your way backwards, inhaling as you do so. Repeat this for a further three to five times.

I’d advise repeating these exercises three times. So, once you’ve going from the prayer pose, go back to the bridge. This will give you the full benefits of each exercise. Warm-ups are a serious chore to plenty of people, but if you fail to prepare, then you are preparing to fail, and you’re likely to pick up an unwanted injury!

Like what you’ve read? Like, comment and share on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Videos courtesy of NYC Pilates Workouts, Howcast, Rehab My Patient/YouTube.

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