We recently blogged about the reasons why people pick up more injuries in the winter – you can find that here.
So what can be done to prevent those injuries? This is the Newcastle Sports Injury guide to taking better care of yourself in the snow, ice, wind and rain that greets every keen sportsperson during an average British winter.
Warm up properly
Absolutely top of the list. You must make sure you warm up properly – when your body is static and cold, it is at increased risk of injury in cold conditions. Start slowly, warm up gradually, and cool down with gentle stretching after exercise.
Wear appropriate clothing
Lots of thin layers are essential. Your body changes temperature a lot while you’re exercising in the winter, so you need to adapt. Lots of thin layers are essential to keep you warm when it’s cold, but to make you still have a full range of movement when the pace and energy levels increase.
Also think carefully about what other equipment you need: correct, grippy footwear for slippy streets, shorter studs if you’re playing football/rugby on hard ground, or reflective gear if you’re out at night.
Just because you are cold, for example, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to drink. Take water with you and drink as much as you can – you’ll still be sweating and losing fluids under those layers.
Stay active throughout the day
This is good advice at any time of year, but we tend to become more sedentary in the winter. Staying still in a warm place and eating lots of stodgy food might seem comforting, but it does not complement being active. If you sit at a desk all day, then head into the cold to exercise, you increase your risk of injury.
So taking frequent breaks from your desk is more important than ever during the winter.
Pay attention to your body
The cold can mask some of the signals that you may be used to receiving from your body – such as pain and twinges. It means you need to be even more vigilant, and never be tempted to carry on through an injury in the hope that it will recover by itself.
As always – seek help if you have an injury
You know where we are – we have clinics in Newcastle centre and Jesmond – and can be reached very easily if you need advice or treatment for an injury. Don’t let an injury hold you back!