21 Apr Sports Injuries: How Pilates helps prevent injuries in cold weather
Sports injuries can put a real dampener on your fitness plans, and as the weather starts to cool, your chances of being injured increase. Warming up cold muscles and checking in for a regular Pilates class are two easy ways to stay injury free this season.
Good health depends on regular exercise, but it is getting cold outside!
You don’t have to let winter put your regular exercise regime in hibernation. However, cold weather workouts do require some important precautions to keep you safe from injury.
Statistically, sports injuries peak in May, June and July when the weather is at it’s coldest. This spike in injury isn’t just about winter’s slippery surfaces and darker evenings – it’s all about the cold.
Cold weather means cold muscles.
When temperatures drop, blood flow to your muscles, tendons and ligaments decreases and they become colder. This causes them to tighten and lose some of their stretch and flexibility – just like butter becomes stiff in the cold fridge.
Cold tight muscles are more likely to tear or injure if you jump into a sudden powerful movement, such as sprinting on a stiffer-than-normal muscle. Cold weather also reduces nerve sensitivity in your extremities. This could mean you are running on slightly numb toes, increasing the chance of causing yourself harm.
Extend your pre-exercise warm up in cold weather.
To prevent injury, the Australian Institute of Sport recommends increasing your warm-up time during cold weather. Warming up means doing some of the same exercises you’re planning, but at a lower intensity. For example, a light jog is a good warm-up before a run.
Extend your warm up time to at least 10 minutes in cold weather. This will increase blood flow to your muscles and improve the mobility and elasticity of your connective tissues, ligaments and joints.
Beware of ‘weekend warrior’ syndrome.
The dark mornings and nights through winter can make it tempting to save all your exercise for the weekend. But becoming a once-a-week athlete puts you at greater risk of injury.
Injury prevention is all about maintaining your body’s condition, flexibility and fitness through a schedule of regular training. Consider taking a Pilates class to keep your body physically prepared for activity.
How Pilates can help prevent injury.
Many sports teams including the All Blacks and premiership football clubs now incorporate Pilates into their training regimes. This is because Pilates reduces the risk of sports injuries by increasing your body’s strength, stability and flexibility.
Pilates has a strong focus on the core muscles but doesn’t neglect the rest of the body either. Nearly all movements we make are initiated from our core muscles, so improving core strength enables greater control and balance in our general movement. This lowers the risk of injury, and leads to greater overall levels of function and performance.
If you’d like further information on preventing injury, check in with a Relinque Osteopath for professional advice, or consider taking a Pilates class at Relinque Sports and Spinal Group. Call us today on 9499 9644