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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Inside the Chicago White Sox Clubhouse

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Dr. Nik Verma of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush and head team physician for the Chicago White Sox goes ‘Inside the Clubhouse’ and shares some of his favorite training room stories with Steve Kashul. Dr. Verma credits his success to the valuable professionals and support staff that help keep our players healthy and fit.

Dr. Verma specializes in treatment of the shoulder, elbow and knee with an emphasis on advanced arthroscopic reconstructive techniques of the shoulder, shoulder replacement, knee ligament reconstruction and articular cartilage reconstruction and meniscal transplantation.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Dr. Verma completed his orthopedic residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center. He then completed a fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in sports medicine and shoulder surgery. While in New York, he served as an assistant team physician for the St. John’s University Athletic Department. He also received specialized training in treatment of shoulder and elbow disorders in the overhead throwing athlete.

Currently, Dr. Verma maintains an active clinical practice performing over 500 procedures per year. He is Director of the Division of Sports Medicine and Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. In addition, he serves as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, and Nazareth Academy. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Verma is actively involved in orthopedic research with interests in basic science, biomechanics and clinical outcomes, and has recently received funding for his work from Major League Baseball.nikhil verma

He has authored multiple peer-reviewed manuscripts in major orthopedic and sports medicine journals, numerous book chapters, and routinely serves as teaching faculty for orthopedic courses on advanced surgical techniques. He frequently serves as an invited speaker or guest surgeon for national and international orthopedic sports medicine meetings.

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Cold and Flu Prevention and Exercise Restrictions when sick

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Dr. Jack Kickless from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush talks to Steve Kashul and Dr. Nik Verma about cold and flu prevention and exercise restrictions when you are sick.

Dr. Nickless was born and raised in the South suburbs of Chicago. He completed his undergraduate training at Loyola University Chicago, where he also played ice hockey. He then went on to obtain his medical degree from Chicago Medical School, andjohn nickless thereafter, completed his residency training in Family Medicine at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, IL where he also served as chief resident.

After residency, he completed a fellowship in sports medicine at Rush University Medical Center where he served as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Fire, DePaul University, Chicago Steel, and local high school teams. He has also covered events including the Chicago Marathon, Shamrock Shuffle, AVP volleyball tournament, and IGI Chicago Style Gymnastics Meet.

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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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