By: Erin Ziprick, RMT
As the snow starts to fall and the temperature falls below zero, it is important to remind ourselves to keep active and continue to live a healthy lifestyle throughout the cold winter months. It seems easy enough to head inside, curl up on the couch with a warm cup of hot chocolate and a blanket and hibernate for the rest of winter. Let’s embrace the cold and head outside to enjoy those special activities only the winter can bring. This alone brings a unique list of challenges and obstacles to staying injury free especially when you are introducing winter specific activities that you haven’t performed for over six months. Before the cold winter months, you can take steps towards loosening up your muscles and keeping healthy so that once you hit the slopes or strap on your rusty ice skates with your family, you minimize the after-activity soreness and to decrease muscle fatigue.
It is very important to keep a regular stretching routine as well as regular massage therapy sessions to have an active and injury free winter season. The key to having an injury free season is to focus on the body’s flexibility and lengthening of your muscles. You can be successful with this prior to the winter’s months.
Some popular winter season activities are snowboarding, skiing, and ice-skating and these activities physically impact your lower body. Therefore focusing on strengthening and lengthening your hamstrings, hips, lower back and core will increase your overall flexibility and prevent injury.
According to American College of Sports Medicine, Whether you choose to perform static stretches (by holding each position for 10-30 seconds) or perform dynamic stretches (by moving the body through a functional range of motion) flexibility prepares the muscles, tendons and joints for work by allowing them to move freely through a full active range of motion. The more prepared the body is, the less likely it is to get injured. Before you perform the activity, a warm up is beneficial to your body as it helps increase circulation and to reduce muscle tightness letting you to perform at you is best.
To kick off the winter season it is important to combines consistent stretching with regular therapeutic massage sessions. Regular massage therapy sessions allow your body to release toxins found in tight muscles, improve flexibility, increase joint mobility, and improve circulation. Your massage therapist can help you in achieving your goals with additional stretches and exercises that will help improve your flexibility and keep you injury free.
Whether you are preparing your body for family fun winter activities or recovering from a wither sport injury or accident, therapeutic massage treatments combined with regular stretching regimens should be your go-to strategy for minimizing aches and pains this winter season.
Posts inspired by the team at Platinum Health & Wellness.