During the wintertime, our bodies tend to tense up with the cold weather, which makes injuries more likely to occur during this season when the bones, tendons, and ligaments have not been active. Mobilization is key to maintaining your well-being and preventing injuries in your body. Studies show that daily exercise of 15-20 minutes will help decrease major injuries. Additionally, for those who suffer from previous back injuries or back pain, physical therapists recommend stretching the joints and muscles in your back 1-2 times a day in the winter to decrease the risk of back injuries while lifting or carrying heavy loads.
A few minutes to an hour here or there will help you avoid spending painful and long hours either in your bed or in a hospital because of a winter injury. Stay active, exercise, stretch, and use proper lifting techniques for the winter ahead of us.
Staying active can increase your energy levels, improve your balance, prevent or delay the onset of diseases, and reduce depression, especially with the lessening of sunlight during this season. Activities like climbing stairs, dancing, stretching, and even practicing yoga can all be performed in the comfort of your home when you don’t feel like braving the cold.
Always warm up before exercising by marching in place, pumping your arms, or doing dynamic stretches. Once you’re ready to get moving, here are the four types of exercise you can practice:
• Endurance – Gradually build up to 30 minutes of an activity that makes you breathe hard and perform this exercise every day.
• Strengthening – Climbing stairs, lifting light weights, or other slightly strenuous activities should be performed every other day.
• Balance – Practice standing on one leg, walking heel-toe, or standing from a sitting position with assistance nearby.
• Flexibility – Hold each stretch for at least 20 seconds with 3-5 repetitions.
Always consult with your physical therapist before starting an exercise program and never perform an exercise that causes you overt pain. Schedule an appointment today to have a physical therapist work with you at home.