Life Wellbeing Winter workout questions answered
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Winter workout questions answered

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Exercising when the weather is sunny is hard enough, so when the temperature drops and days become shorter, it can be enough to render you immobile for three months.

Sport injury rates also peak in winter with cold muscles, tendons and ligaments increase your risk of being hurt.

During the months of May, June and July, sport related hospital admissions increase by an estimated 30 per cent.

So how can we effectively exercise during winter, and should we avoid working out when we come down with the dreaded common cold?

How can I avoid injury?

newdaily_170614_injurySports physiotherapist Rosemary Riley from Sports Medicine Australia says that exercise in winter simply requires extra preparation.

“Although cold conditions can place extra demand on the body, with the right knowledge, preparation and attitude, you can be active and safe in winter and keep reaping those health benefits,” said Ms Riley.

“Many Australians are unaware that most winter injuries can actually be prevented by good preparation and the correct equipment.”

Riley recommends properly warming up before exercise to prevent muscle injury.

This can be done by jogging on the spot or doing some body weight exercises for a minute of two before you start your workout.

Muscles, tendons and ligaments also perform better when they are warm and elastic.

Warming up through exercises like star jumps before you leave the house will also mean that you feel the cold less at the start of your run, bike ride or yoga session.

Can I exercise when it’s raining?

Exercising outside in the rain and cold weather shouldn’t be avoided if you wear the right gear.

Sports Medicine Australia recommends wearing gloves, a beanie and well-fitting shoes to help avoid excess heat loss and make you less sensitive to the cold.

While there is no evidence that running in the rain will make you sick, a low body temperature will make you more prone to contracting viruses, so it is important to wear waterproof gear to keep your body warm and dry.

Many clothing brands like Nike and Lululemon now make breathable, water-resistant gear for runners and cyclists to help keep you comfortable while exercising in all conditions.

Can I exercise when I’m unwell?

newdaily_170614_waterrunMedical opinion tends to side with the view that exercising at a reduced capacity is okay if your symptoms are from the neck up, such as a sore throat or runny nose.

If you have a congested chest, muscle aches or are coughing, then you should avoid exercise and rest.

In some cases, walking and jogging can help clear your sinuses, but if your cold is severe, exercise will delay your recovery.

Clinical exercise physiologist Professor Steve Selig says to use common sense when deciding whether or not to exercise.

“Exercising with a cold isn’t generally harmful, but it’s not always comfortable,” said Selig in an interview with Fernwood Fitness.

“If you feel tired, unwell and dizzy and try to exercise, you could hurt yourself.”

Walking, jogging, swimming and yoga are best when you are unwell, but stay away from weights when you’re sick because you will have reduced strength.

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