Winter sports

Exercise should be a regular part of your life. However, winter can be a challenging time to exercise due to the cold weather and short days.

In addition, the extreme temperature differences can lead to sudden cardiac or cerebrovascular events, and there is a high risk of injury, such as frostbite and falls on icy roads.

Of course, there are some exercises that are suitable for winter, such as skiing and skating, but you should pay special attention to pre-exercise to protect your body from the cold weather.

Beware of hypothermia

When exercising in cold weather, it”s important to properly protect your body from the cold outside.

If you fall below your normal body temperature and don”t recover, you”ll suffer from hypothermia. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, rapid pulse and breathing, cold hands and feet that turn white, muscle stiffness, dehydration, and even frostbite.

This can be fatiguing, affecting performance, causing muscle injuries and exacerbating asthma symptoms. It can also increase the risk of angina, heart attack and stroke, especially in older people.

The body tries to maintain a body temperature of 37°C. If the outside temperature drops, the body shifts blood from the skin to the brain, heart, and other organs in order to keep warm.

Because of this physiological response, the ears, face, feet, and eyes, which are more exposed to the elements, are at higher risk of frostbite.

The ten commandments of winter exercise

  • Firstly, wear several layers of thin clothing to keep warm and avoid hindering your movements. It”s best to use cotton to absorb sweat and windproof outerwear for areas in contact with the skin.
  • Secondly, if your clothes get wet, they can’t retain heat, so you need to change into dry clothes quickly.
  • Third, cover all exposed body parts thoroughly. The head, ears, and neck, which generate the most heat, should be covered with a hat, earmuffs, or scarf. In some cases, goggles are necessary to protect the eyes, and men should keep their genitals warm.
  • Fourth, wear thick socks to protect your feet and shoes that are loose enough so that your feet don’t feel too tight.
  • Fifth, make sure you get a good, warm night’s sleep the night before.
  • Sixth, eat a warm meal before exercise, but do not overeat.
  • Seventh, avoid alcohol before or during your workout. When you”re cold, a little alcohol will initially raise your body temperature, but it will also increase your sweating, which will make you feel cold sooner.
  • Eighth, continue to take your medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Ninth, warm up indoors before going outside.
  • Tenth, don”t exercise on a schedule that is too demanding. For example, if you”re hiking in winter, set yourself a goal of reaching your destination before sunset, and if you feel overwhelmed, stop to prevent further injury or accident.

Golf

In golf, you need to watch out for hypothermia above all else.

The most frequent areas to suffer are the hands, feet, ears and exposed areas of the face.

Muscle stiffness and fatigue are a big factor in managing scores, especially for golfers who need to be in a stable condition, and can lead to injuries such as muscle tears and fractures if they play too hard. For this reason, you should take special care when playing in winter.

Your clothing should be designed to keep you warm and active, not fashionable or trendy.

It”s a good idea to wear several thin layers to keep warm. Wear several layers of thin clothing with a vest on top, as thicker layers will restrict your swing, and specialised sweat-wicking T-shirts are recommended for areas of contact with the skin, and windproof outerwear.

Gloves should keep your hands warm without compromising your grip.

Hats should be made of material that protects the head and ears, which are the most heated parts of the body. Hats should be as windowless as possible, as they provide extra protection from UV rays, which are already scarce in winter.

A thin shawl around the neck will help prevent heat loss.

Spiked shoes are a good idea as they help to prevent slipping.

However, you should be careful when walking in spiked shoes, as they are more prone to ankle injuries due to their hard surface. It’s a good idea to warm up your shoes and allow the leather to stretch before putting them on.

Your socks should be warm and prevent heat loss from your feet.

The next thing to watch out for are elbow and rib fractures, which can occur when you hit the ground incorrectly during your golf swing. To prevent these injuries, it”s important to warm up before you start playing and avoid fatigue so that you don”t lose concentration.

Also, if the course is frozen, using a rubber tee for every shot is a good way to prevent injuries.

Hiking

Mountaineering is a popular sport among adults over 50 because it”s an aerobic activity that involves walking at natural elevations for long periods of time, as opposed to sprinting or jogging on flat terrain.

However, when it comes to winter mountaineering, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure good results.

  • Firstly, it”s important to check your health before you start climbing. In particular, people with cardiovascular or orthopedic problems should consult a specialist.
  • Secondly, don”t overestimate your physical strength. In winter, it takes 10-15% more energy to adapt to the colder temperatures than in summer. The intensity should be such that you can carry on a conversation with the person next to you during the climb.
  • Third, you should dress appropriately for winter. Winter mountains are uneven and different from flat terrain, and due to the temperature difference, the ground is frozen and the snow hasn”t melted, making it hard and slippery, so you need to wear appropriate hiking shoes. You also need to be prepared for hypothermia, especially at high altitudes, as the difference in temperature and weather changes is significant. To do this, you should wear a T-shirt made of a special material that absorbs sweat, a coat that keeps you warm, and clothing that keeps your head, ears, face, and hands warm.
  • Fourth, warm up before and after the climb. A warm-up is a good way to prepare your heart and muscles for the sudden burden of exertion, and it can help you avoid injuries and fatigue. Afterwards, you can take a bath to relax your tired muscles.
  • Fifth, prepare a warm drink to prevent dehydration and maintain body temperature. In addition, the calcium and magnesium released with sweat can cause muscle fatigue, resulting in muscle stiffness, such as cramps in the legs. Therefore, it”s important to drink plenty of fluids and fruits during your hike. Don”t overeat afterwards, as it puts a lot of strain on your stomach and heart, and can cause you to regain the body fat you”ve worked so hard to lose.
  • Sixth, prepare a simple first aid kit. Small abrasions, stomach aches, diarrhoea, etc. can happen to anyone, so it”s a good idea to have a simple first aid kit. Especially if you are taking medication on a regular basis, be sure to inform your companions of your illness and what to do, and take your medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Seventh, because the days are shorter in winter, you should calculate the time of sunset before you start your hike, and be prepared for a sharp drop in air temperature at sunset.

Skiing

The majority of skiing injuries are safety incidents.

They can be caused by careless crashes and falls, fractures caused by not checking the equipment enough, accidents caused by skiing alone without the help of an instructor or an experienced skier, etc.

In terms of injuries, the knee is the most common, with damage to the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus, the shoulder is a dislocation caused by a fall, and the hand is ligament damage to the thumb and index finger.

An ACL injury is often caused by jumping and landing on your feet. When it ruptures, it makes a popping sound and the knee becomes weak and swollen.

Damage to the meniscus, which acts as a shock absorber for the knee, is usually caused by the twisting of the knee during a fall, which is painful and feels like it’s catching whenever you move the knee. If the meniscus ruptures, it can”t be repaired, so surgery is necessary.

Shoulder dislocations are most common when you fall with your arms outstretched. To prevent shoulder dislocations, it”s a good idea to practice keeping your arms as close to your body as possible when you fall.

Thumb ligament injuries occur when the ski handle puts a load on the thumb during a fall. To prevent ligament damage in your thumb, you should always roll the handle into a circle, so that you can quickly release your fingers from the handle when you fall.

Enjoy winter sports with thorough preparation

In conclusion, in winter, we do less physical activity than in other seasons, so we need to compensate for this by exercising. However, it”s important to be careful not to overdo it, as this could end up harming your health.

As a general rule, it”s recommended to reduce the amount of exercise you do by 10 to 20 per cent in the winter months because of the increased physical exertion compared to summer.

In addition, it”s important to warm up sufficiently to loosen up muscles and joints that are stiff from the cold, and to wear the right clothing and equipment in case of hypothermia.

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