Everyone understands how important it is to stretch before any exercise. Now that its winter, it’s really important to remember to stretch, especially if you still crave that outdoor run or workout routine. When it’s cold, your muscles tend to tighten, which makes them more prone to injury.
Warm up Before Stretching
In warm weather, you probably stretch before doing any exercise. You have to do things slightly different in cold weather. Stretching a cold muscle can result in pulling or straining your muscles because they’re tight. In cold weather, start with a light activity such as walking, jogging or shuffling to get your blood flowing through your body and to your muscles. This will help warm and loosen your muscles.
Dynamic stretching is key to your winter workouts. When it’s cold, and you’ve got your blood flowing from your brief warm up, keep it going with dynamic stretching rather than static stretching. The repetitive moves like arm circles and leg raises help keep your blood flowing while loosening your muscles. Never underestimate the power of a one-minute jumping jack or jump rope session to get your body going.
During the Workout
Remember it’s important that you keep your blood flowing and your muscles warm, if there’s ever an extended pause in your workout, keep moving by doing some more dynamic stretching exercises or even jogging in place. With cold temperatures, it does not take a lot for your muscles to tighten up; keep them warm to avoid getting injured.
Although the temperature is cold, it’s still important to cool down your body properly. Incorporate static stretching in your cool down to help slow your heart rate and relax your muscles. A static stretch after your workout will improve range of motion and flexibility for future workouts.
If you love to get outside to run or workout, don’t let the cold temperatures slow you down. Just make sure that you properly stretch your muscles to help you avoid any unwanted injuries. Talk to a personal trainer to learn more about dynamic stretching and exactly how to stretch in cold weather. Your local Fitness Together® trainer will help make sure that you’re stretching properly and which stretches will benefit you most. If you don’t have a personal trainer and want one, find one at www.fitnesstogether.com.