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Things to Consider When Exercising in the Cold Weather from Your Casper Physical Therapist

November 14, 2018

Staying fit year-round can sometimes involve exercising in colder weather climates. Although there are always heated, climate-controlled gyms available to individuals seeking to maintain or improve their current physical health situation, there are many activities that take place outside. Things such as hiking, biking, skiing, and rock-climbing are just a few of the popular activities that Coloradans like to engage in during the colder weather months. Engaging in physical exercise in colder conditions can present different challenges for your body. Your Casper physical therapist has some things to consider when exercising outside during chilly weather.

Warm Up Before You Workout

Ok, so you probably are already aware of the importance of warming up before you begin an intensive exercise routine. Regardless of what the activity is, warming up before you workout is an essential component of preparing your body for physical activity. Warming up can prepare your lungs, heart, and muscles for a more strenuous phase during a workout. Muscles that are warmed up are able to both contract and relax faster, reducing the possibility of muscle injury. 

All of these factors become even more important to your physical health during cold weather, as the possibility of injury can increase with colder weather, especially for individuals who choose not to warm up. Getting your body to an ideal temperature during colder months can take a little bit longer, as you will be starting under cooler conditions. Finding the right warm up for your specific outdoor activity can also improve your body’s readiness for working out.

Stay Warm and Dry

If you’ve taken the necessary measures to warm your body up, another critical aspect of preparing yourself for outdoor physical activity during colder months is to stay warm. The importance of having proper clothing for your specific activity is crucial if you are to prevent serious injury and conditions such as frostbite and hyperthermia from occuring. If you are traveling away from your home a considerable distance, make sure to bring additional layers of clothing with you as a precautionary measure.

Consider purchasing clothing which will help keep you warm without restricting your movement or mobility. Athletic apparel has made significant strides in recent years to improve the ability to keep individuals warm without burdening them with excessive weight. It may take a degree of trial and error to figure out what the right amount of layers are for your particular activity, as having to shed layers every time you work out can be an irritating hassle to deal with.

Another important aspect to working out outside is to remain as dry as possible. If your activity involves some level of contact with snow or water, you will want to invest in clothing that is waterproof and specifically designed to keep you as dry as possible. Look into clothing that has moisture-wicking technology as a way to prevent your body from becoming excessively wet. Staying dry is key to remaining warm, as a wet body will keep you colder. This can not only make your workout miserable, but can leave you vulnerable to more serious health detriments. 

Hydrate Yourself

During the warmer months of the year, staying hydrated is obvious and apparent to anyone who is exercising, as they will not only need water for hydration but will be motivated to drink more for cooling purposes. During the winter, it can be easy to forget about drinking plenty of water, as the cooler weather will give a person much less motivation for hydrating themselves. However, this can be a dangerous trap, as you will still need an ample amount of water if you are exerting yourself physically. 

If you are heading to the mountains for your preferred physical activity, always bring enough water for your workout. Having too much water is never a problem, as you may surprise yourself with how much you will need to consume to maintain your optimal hydration levels. If you are going on a long hike, trail run, or are engaging in backcountry skiing, consider investing in a water storage device that will allow you to take it with you without sacrificing your performance levels. Devices such as a water bladder and pack can be the perfect option for athletes seeking to remain prepared without losing a step.

Monitor Weather Conditions

If you are heading into the mountains for your particular physical activity, it is especially important to monitor current weather conditions as a way to prepare for your activity. If you are an avid skier or snowboarder, a fresh foot of snowfall will be just what you are looking for. However, if you were seeking to take a winter hike on your preferred mountain trail, excessive snow can make your hike an undesirable or impossible feat. 

Staying ahead of the weather can be key to maximizing your time, as you certainly don’t want to waste a day due to weather conditions. Safety should always be your top priority in every situation when it comes to exercise, and you should never sacrifice safety for the possibility of a good workout. Invest in proper gear and make sure your vehicle is ready for winter driving in the mountains prior to leaving home.

If you are looking to improve your physical health situation and are in need of physical therapy due to an accident or other physical ailments, contact North Platte Physical Therapist today and we will be happy to assist you with your first steps towards recovery. We have an extensive team of qualified physical therapists and specialists who care deeply about their clients and go above and beyond the call of duty to provide the highest quality treatment in the industry. If you are looking for a therapist who will carefully assess your individual needs and formulate a treatment plan that is specifically tailored to your needs, Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness is your preferred choice for the physical recovery process.