Outdoor Winter Workout Tips

outdoor winter workout tips

By Tara Hackney, PT, DPT, OCS, KTTP for Athletico Physical Therapy

Winter is here! As the weather turns cold, snowy and icy, it makes outdoor workouts seem impossible. Cold weather does not mean all outdoor workouts must cease, but there are ways to keep up your routine or even try a new wintertime workout. Here are some tips for working out in the cold:

Outdoor Winter Workout Tips

  • Start by warming up indoors – this can include a 5-10 minute jog in place, jumping jacks or jumping rope. By doing this, your body starts off warmer when you go outside into the cold.
  • Don’t exercise outside if the temperature is too cold – know your limits and make sure to check the wind chill before deciding to work out outdoors. In general, it is a good idea to exercise indoors if the wind chill is zero or below to avoid conditions like hypothermia or frostbite.
  • Check the weather before you leave your house – make sure there isn’t a storm in the forecast or any large change in the weather that could leave you at increased risk for frostbite during the length of your workout.
  • Try to work out outside when it is warmest, which is typically near midday – to do this, try exercising on your lunch break or leave your outdoor workouts for the weekends and supplement with indoor workouts during the week.
  • Dress in layers –
    • A sweat wicking fabric should be closest to your body (not cotton)
    • The next layer is an insulation layer such as fleece or wool
    • The outer layer should be waterproof
    • Make sure to protect the head, hands, feet and ears
    • Consider a scarf or mask that can cover the face if it is really cold
  • Beware of icy conditions, as this can increase your risk for falling during a workout –
    • Make sure you select footwear with good traction
    • There are also removable options that can be attached to shoes to give added traction on icy sidewalks or terrain
  • Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia –
    • skin color changes
    • numbness
    • tingling or stinging
    • ice crystals on the skin
    • vigorous shivering
    • lethargy
    • amnesia
    • fine motor skill impairment

Other Options for Winter Workouts

Sometimes an outdoor workout is not going to happen during the winter months. This can be a great time to try a new workout or to change up your routine. There are several options that can be effective, including at-home workouts or gym workouts that could include using weights or joining a class. Here are a few options:

  • Water workouts – these are a great change in pace and allow you to work muscles that may not get as much attention with traditional outdoor workouts. Find a local gym with a pool to try swimming or other water based workouts.
  • Yoga – this is a great indoor activity that can help you focus on stretching, core strengthening, and can be a good compliment to your normal workout routines
  • Something new – there are many workout options that may be new to your routine, including spin, Pilates, POUND, Zumba or body pump. These classes are a fun way to work out when the weather drives you indoors.
  • Fun winter-specific workouts, like cross country skiing or snowshoeing – these are both amazing cardio and strengthening workouts for both the upper and lower body.
  • Take the time during the winter months to focus on any problem areas that may have shown during the warmer months – if you had any areas of pain or weakness during the rest of the year, now is a great time to focus on stretching and strengthening that area to prevent any aggravation when you resume your regular outdoor workouts.

Heading into the Spring Injury-Free

Regardless of the workouts you try this winter, it is important to pay attention to your body so you can head into the warmer weather without injury and ready to resume your normal routine. Should unusual aches and pains occur during or after a workout, schedule a free assessment at a nearby Athletico so our experts can help you heal.

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Common Wrestling Injuries and Treatment Options

common wrestling injuries and treatment options

By Tara Hackney, PT, DPT, OCS, KTTP for Athletico Physical Therapy

Wrestling is one of the world’s oldest sports. Since wrestling season is getting underway, let’s take a quick moment to look at some common injuries that can impact wrestlers:

Knee Injuries

Prepatellar bursitis

  • What: Prepatellar bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, which is a fluid filled sac located in front of the kneecap. In wrestling this area is constantly hitting the mat.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms of prepatellar bursitis can include sharp pain and swelling of the kneecap area.
  • Treatment: Treatment can include anti-inflammatory medications, ice, rest and the use of knee pads by the wrestler.
  • Prevention: Wrestlers can wear knee pads to decrease the contact of the knee with the mat, which is aggravating to the bursa.

Knee ligament injuries

  • What: Commonly injured knee ligaments in wrestling include the medial collateral ligament (MCL) or lateral collateral ligament (LCL) of the knee, located on the middle and outside of the knee respectively. These injuries can occur in wrestling when the leg is twisted outward from the body.
  • Symptoms: Pain, swelling of the knee, difficulty putting full weight on the knee, and pain with bending and straightening the knee are all symptoms of knee ligament injuries.
  • Treatment: Treatment of a mild sprain of the ligament can include RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). More severe injuries are treated by a physician, however surgery is rarely indicated. Physical therapy can help recovery and return to sport after a MCL or LCL injury.
  • Prevention: Maintaining good strength in both the quads and hamstrings can help strengthen the knee and decrease the risk of injury. Also flexibility of these same muscle groups will help with preventing injury.

Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder Separation

  • What: A shoulder separation can occur when a wrestler takes a blow to the shoulder or falls onto the shoulder. The separation is due to ligaments being torn that help the clavicle (collar bone) stay stable with the rest of the shoulder. Usually after this injury the clavicle rests in a higher position.
  • Symptoms: A visible step off over the shoulder where the clavicle rests higher is common, as well as pain over that region. A wrestler may also have less movement of the shoulder with overhead reaching.
  • Treatment: Shoulder separations have varying severity levels. For minor injuries, physical therapy and taping can be used for treatment. A larger grade separation may require surgery to correct.
  • Prevention: Since a separation is typically a traumatic event, it can be difficult to prevent. However if a wrestler has good flexibility and well-balanced strength in the shoulder prior to injury, it can make recovering from an injury easier.

Shoulder Dislocation/Subluxation

  • What: Dislocations and subluxations occur when there is an impact to the arm where the arm is rotated and away from the body, causing the joint to separate. In wrestling, this can be a fall onto an outstretched arm.
  • Symptoms: If the shoulder goes out but comes back into the joint on its own, that is a subluxation. If the shoulder does not go back on its own, the wrestler needs to see a doctor to have the dislocation corrected. Pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the arm are all common symptoms after these injuries.
  • Treatment: Imaging is recommended after this injury to assess for damage to the ligaments and muscles of the shoulder. Physical therapy can help to strengthen muscles and decrease pain after this injury.
  • Prevention: If a wrestler is falling, they can try to keep their arms close to the body to prevent the fall onto the outstretched arm.

Neck Injury

Cervical Sprain/Strain

  • What: A cervical sprain or strain can occur when there is a sudden fall or impact with the mat or opponent in wrestling. Usually the head is quickly, and possibly forcibly, moved from one position to another.
  • Symptoms: The neck muscles may feel like they are in spasm. Difficulty and pain with moving the head and neck are common. Headaches may also occur due to muscle tension.
  • Treatment: Heat, ice, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy can be used to help decrease the muscle tension and symptoms of a cervical sprain or strain. These treatments can also improve range of movement of the head and neck.
  • Prevention: Try to avoid the quick movements into extreme stretched positions of the neck. Warm up prior to a match can include neck stretches to prepare the muscles for the possible movements that can occur during wrestling.

If you are a wrestler who has suffered an injury, schedule a free assessment at a nearby Athletico clinic so our experts can help you recover.

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Nutrition Tips for the Teenage Athlete

nutrition for student athletes

By Tara Hackney, PT, DPT, OCS, KTTP for Athletico Physical Therapy

During the school year it is common for teenage athletes to find their schedules jammed packed with class, homework, practice and competition. When students are this busy, eating can be overlooked. Sometimes meals are skipped or home-cooked meals are substituted for fast food while running from one practice to another. Proper nutrition is important as the food we eat becomes the fuel for our bodies.

Athletes have unique needs compared to their less active peers. Athletes need more calories each day for proper performance and teenage athletes also need to meet their body’s growing requirements. Teenage athletes may need 2,000-5,000 total calories per day depending on how active they are. A well balanced diet of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, as well as proper hydration, will ensure a teenage athlete will meet their body’s energy demands.

What Can Happen if Athletes Don’t Have Proper Nutrition?

  • Less likely to achieve peak performance
  • May breakdown rather than build up muscles
  • May not be as fast or strong
  • May not maintain their weight
  • In extreme conditions, athletes can be at increased risk for fractures or growth problems

Healthy Eating Tips for Teen Athletes:

  1. Eat a meal with protein and carbohydrates 2-4 hours before practice or competition.
    -Examples: turkey or chicken sandwich, milk and cereal, pasta with tomato sauce
  2. If you don’t have time for a full meal, eat a snack if less than 2 hours before your practice or competition.
    – Examples: melons, cherries, low fat yogurt, bagel, carrots, crackers
  3. Consider not eating anything 1 hour before practice as digestion takes energy and leaving food in your stomach can make you feel bloated or cause abdominal cramping
  4. Sugary snacks and drinks can give you a quick burst of energy but also lead to a “crash” before the end of practice.
    – Sugary snacks and drinks also do not provide proper nutrients
  5. Your body needs fats for energy and to function properly. However, since fats can also slow down digestion, it is best to avoid a high fat meal too close to practice or competition.
  6. Although fast food is easy to grab and go, it has a lot of excess “empty” calories that don’t necessarily provide proper nutrition.
    – There are ways to make fast food a “better” option, such as grilled chicken, eliminating the bun, and being careful of extra add-on items like cheese, bacon, etc.
  7. Water is important to stay hydrated, including replacing what is lost as we perspire during exercise.
    – Athletes benefit from drinking water before, after and during practice (every 15-20 minutes during practice)
  8. Sports drinks can be beneficial when exercising for more than 60-90 minutes in hot weather.
  9. Avoid energy drinks before exercise. They contain caffeine, a diuretic, which can contribute to dehydration.

If you would like to learn more from an Athletico physical therapist, please use the button below to request an appointment!

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The Emotional Impact of Injuries

emotional impact of injuries

By Tara Hackney, PT, DPT, OCS, KTTP for Athletico Physical Therapy

As much as we would like to prevent injuries, they do occur. In an ideal world, an injury would not disrupt our regular activities or participation in sport. But many times injuries lead to shifts in our regular activities. For many athletes, this injury can trigger an emotional and mental response.

Emotional responses that can occur after injury:

  • Sadness
  • Isolation
  • Irritation
  • Lack of motivation
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Disengagement

There is no correct way for an athlete to respond to an injury; every athlete is an individual and their response will vary. It is important to note that the emotional response to injury may change throughout the course of healing. It starts at the time of the injury but continues throughout rehab, and into the return-to-play phase as well. The healthcare team should be aware of emotional responses and be on the lookout for athletes who may not have proper coping to these intense emotions.

Some emotional responses may become problematic, particularly if an athlete needs help and does not know how to ask for it. Depression for example, can impact recovery and magnify other emotional responses. Depression can be related to feelings of performance failure. Elite athletes have shared their personal experiences with depression after injury that kept them from their sport for an extended length of time. When an athlete is injured, they may not only lose their physical independence, they may also feel like they are being punished or isolated from their sport and/or their team. There can be a large change to their social environment and this can affect them mentally.

How Can We Help Injured Athletes Emotionally During Recovery:

  • Athletes may not want to share their feelings as it may be seen as a sign of weakness. The coaches, trainers and doctors should work together to provide a support network for the athlete and counseling should be considered as well.
  • Try to keep the athlete involved with their team. They can attend practice, go to games, sit on the bench or keep statistics so they still interact with their teammates and don’t feel isolated.
  • Allow the athlete to help set goals for recovery and rehabilitation and make sure they are aware of the timeline of their healing.
  • Use a team approach to recovery – coaches, parents, physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists and other members of the healthcare team should stay in contact with each other to make sure the athlete is coping well and has the support needed for recovery both physically and mentally.
  • Try to discourage a “tough it out” mentality because this can add to the stigma around mental health issues, and athletes may retreat further into themselves rather than seeking help.

By being aware of the emotional response to injury as well as the physical injury itself, we can help athletes have optimal recovery. If you are an athlete dealing with an injury, request an appointment at a nearby Athletico location so our experts can help you get back in the game.

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