Some Handy Tips on Winter Training

18th December 2017

In this week's blog post, our Osteopath Caitlin Perrett takes you through some handy tips on training during the winter months; how to keep yourself motivated and essential pointers to avoid injury.

It can be hard to get off the sofa when the view from the window looks bleak. But it's helpful to know everyone tends to struggle with motivation in the winter months, especially when your activity is outdoors.

Thankfully, it's not impossible to get the motivation in winter. Here are some top tips to get you active in the dark months, you may even enjoy it!

1 - Self Education

Understanding the benefits of exercise has always helped motivate me. When the weather is cold, your blood vessels constrict which thickens your blood, and therefore increases your risk of heart disease. Movement helps the flow of fluid, which in turn moves your blood around your body, improving circulation. This also helps to boost your immunity, decreasing the likeliness of catching those horrible coughs and colds that can have us tied to our beds for days on end. Exercise and movement will help to release the hormone dopamine, which will improve your mental wellbeing. The thrill that comes with completing something in terrible conditions gives you an extra dopamine kick, making you feel like you can do anything!

2 - Stick to your Routine

Keep the summer to winter routine the same, but what you do doesn't matter. If you exercise 3 times a week in summer, keep it at 3 for the winter. But don't worry if it's different. As long as you keep moving. Cross train in the winter, work on other areas of your body or do some exercise indoors.

3 - Warm up is Key (but do it inside!)

Getting outside can be a challenge so why not try and warm up inside first. Getting your body warm before heading out into the chilly air prepares your muscles and joints. It improves the quality of your movement, and decreases the likelihood of injury. Remember to layer up to keep warm when outside. And wear bright clothes to keep yourself visible if conditions worsen.

4 - All about Goals

Small challenges - set yourself small goals, challenges, or races to keep you motivated to move! Even just saying I will do 3 runs a week through December can be motivating enough for you to do it!

5 - Adaptive Training

View it as winter training for the summer months. with competitions and personal bests to beat. Keep training to build you up to those challenges.

6 - Full Body MOT

Use it as time to condition and improve your body's mechanics. This is the part which really interests me. When I was younger and playing sport, I found it fascinating how one body part influences another. It¹s actually the reason I became an osteopath. Working out how you can improve the function of one joint or muscle by working on its surrounding joints still amazes me. Aiming to condition the whole body to be as optimal as possible. Specific summer training often leaves little time for this, so winter is the perfect time of year to work on it! Think about improving flexibility and strength throughout your body, and if you need a little help working out where best to start, or progress then pop into the WHC where I, or one of the other osteopaths, will be more than happy to advise you!

Remember that it's really important to keep your hydration and energy levels up in the winter. Keep eating and drinking as just being out in the cold burns more calories! And layer up if exercising outdoors!

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