Simply put, warming up is essential. In fact, when pressed for time, it’s better to shorten the length of your workout and keep a good warm-up than to skip the warm-up and dive right into the workout. Skipping your warm-up is the best way to get hurt.
I suggest that you start with some light aerobic activity (jogging, biking, fast walking) for about 7-10 minutes. Then follow these tips to help you fight back the winter weather:
- Skiing – do 10 to 15 squats. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, knees aligned over your feet. Slowly lower your buttocks as you bend your knees over your feet. Stand up straight again.
- Skating – do several lunges. Take a moderately advanced step with one foot. Let your back knee come down to the floor while keeping your shoulders in position over your hips. Repeat the process with your other foot.
- Sledding/tobogganing – do knee-to-chest stretches to fight compression injuries caused by repetitive bouncing over the snow. Either sitting or lying on your back, pull your knees to your chest and hold for up to 30 seconds.
- Don’t forget cool-down stretching for all of these sports. At the bottom of the sledding hill, for instance, before trudging back up, do some more knees-to-chest stretches, or repetitive squatting movements to restore flexibility.
Shoveling snow can also wreak havoc on the musculoskeletal system. I suggest the following tips for exercise of the snow shoveling variety:
- If you must shovel snow, be careful. Listen to weather forecasts so you can rise early and have time to shovel before work.
- Layer clothing to keep your muscles warm and flexible.
- Shoveling can strain “de-conditioned” muscles between your shoulders, in your upper back, lower back, buttocks and legs. So, do some warm-up stretching before you grab that shovel.
- When you do shovel, push the snow straight ahead. Don’t try to throw it. Walk it to the snow bank. Avoid sudden twisting and turning motions.
- Bend your knees to lift when shoveling. Let the muscles of your legs and arms do the work, not your back.
- Take frequent rest breaks to take the strain off your muscles. A fatigued body asks for injury.
- Stop if you feel chest pain, or get really tired or have shortness of breath. You may need immediate professional help.
If you continue to feel soreness, pain or strain after following these tips, it may be time to visit me at Roberts Chiropractic at Main and Hersey in Ashland. You can reach us at 541-482-2904 or at our website.
410 N Main St.