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.

SCHEDULE A FREE ASSESSMENT

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Aging Atletes and Their Joints.

Steve Kashul talks with Dr. Craig Della Valle from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush about aging athletes and their joints. Are we getting joint replacements at a younger age and what factors in a more active lifestyle contribute to joint problems.

Dr. Della Valle is a native of New York and received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  He completed his residency at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City.  During his residency he spent a full year devoted to clinical and basic science research in the field of adult reconstructive surgery.  Dr. Della Valle completed a fellowship in adult reconstructive surgery at Rush University Medical Center and Central DuPage Hospital.

He is presently the Aaron G. Rosenberg Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Chief of the Section of Adult Reconstruction at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Craig Della ValleDr. Della Valle is a busy clinician who specializes in primary and revision total joint arthroplasty.  A respected researcher, he has more than 180 peer reviewed publications on topics including unicompartmental, primary and revision total knee arthroplasty as well as total hip arthroplasty, hip resurfacing and revision total hip arthroplasty.

Dr Della Valle is a member of The Hip Society, The Knee Society and The International Hip Society. He currently President for the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, Member at Large for the Knee Society and Secretary of the Hip Society.

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Are Minimalist Shoes Effective for Strengthening Foot Muscles in Runners?

Image result for minimalist shoes running

As the main point of contact with the ground, the foot plays a vital role in how humans move. The complex structure of the foot includes 26 bones, more than 20 muscles, many ligaments and various types of soft tissue. These features allow the foot to provide rigid support or flexibility, depending on the situation. Weakness of the basic foot muscles (those small muscles located solely within the foot that do not cross the ankle joint) has been associated with a variety of foot injuries. Strengthening these muscles may help prevent injuries.

In this research, the investigators measured the effects of walking in minimalist footwear or performing specific foot strengthening exercises on the size and strength of some of these basic foot muscles. A total of 57 runners participated over a period of eight weeks in one of these randomly assigned conditions: minimalist shoe walking, foot muscle strengthening or a control situation. Serial measurements of foot muscle strength and size were made during the study.

The research showed that walking in minimalist shoes results in strength gains and muscle size increases; the same was found in the group that performed the foot exercises. While minimalist shoes have mostly been associated with running, the general public and/or people who suffer from a variety of painful foot conditions may benefit from walking in minimalist shoes.

For more information, view the abstract

American College of Sports Medicine

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Clinical Research Trials at Rush: Regrowth and Recovery from Treatment of Cartilage Defects

Image result for microfracture

Dr. Brian Cole and Steve Kashul talk with Division One College Track Athlete, Jasmine Smyles about her participation in a clinical trial for treating cartilage defects. Jasmine discusses her trial experience 6 months after her cartilage defect treatment, regrowth and recovery.

For information on Clinical Trials and Research at Rush go to:   https://www.briancolemd.com/clinical-trials/

Research Graphic

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