Are You Active on Those Weird, Warm Winter Days? Here’s How to Stay Healthy
One minute it’s gray and sleeting, and the next the sun is shining and 50 degrees: Welcome to winter in Indiana! The trick is to stay active regardless of whether the weather keeps you indoors or draws you outside with promises of spring…and to do it without ending up injured. Knowing how to balance your activity with your fitness level will pay off when the seasons change for real – not just for the week.
We’ve seen others do it (and maybe even been guilty ourselves): once a warm front comes through and the sun is out, jumping on our bike, grabbing our running shoes, or hitting a wooded trail. The problem? We typically haven’t done those activities, at that intensity, since it was warm every day. Overdoing it is a recipe for aches, pains, sprains, or strains – if not worse. Even if you’ve been riding your stationary bike, it’s really easy to go those extra miles with a friend. Or if you know you have a big race coming up, it’s easy to think that you should jump back into your “usual” mileage and run a few miles too many.
The key is to match your activity with your fitness level. If you’ve taken it easy over the winter, that’s likely okay and even a pretty good idea! Your body can benefit from rest and cross training during the colder months. You just don’t want to jump back into the same activity you typically do in July when it’s February. That is how people end up with injuries that could cause a real set back.
If you’ve stayed somewhat active, but reduced your activity, don’t despair when the weather gives you a great day outdoors. Instead, match your activity to what you’d do inside. If you’d set the treadmill for a two-three mile run, take that same distance outside. If you’re still feeling energetic, take some extra time to enjoy a cool-down walk. You can also judge your outdoor activity by time. If you usually ride your stationary bike for 30 minutes, give yourself a 30 minute ride outdoors with time to cool down and enjoy the scenery.
If you’ve been relatively inactive over the winter, or maybe are rehabbing an injury, get out into the fresh air on those rare, good-weather winter days. Just be sure that you take it easy; think of taking a walk or even a short hike on a wooded trail. Even being out in nature itself on these days is good for you, as we wrote about here.
The bottom line: winter doesn’t last forever, but injury can linger long after spring arrives. Don’t overdo it when you get a chance to get outside, match your activity to your fitness level, and remember to warm up and cool down.
If your winter isn’t going well or you need a little tune up in time for spring, Body One Physical Therapy is ready to help. We’re locally-owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis/Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville. Don’t wait to start feeling great, call Body One today!