Con­tinue ex­er­cise pro­gram in cold months


Win­ter weather pro­vides many op­por­tu­nites for ex­er­cis­ing, but it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber to con­tinue to take care of your body dur­ing the cold weather months.

Ex­er­cis­ing out­doors? The tem­per­a­ture of mus­cles, ten­dons and lig­a­ments are sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced in the cold, mak­ing them less move­able. This is one of the rea­sons that ex­er­cis­ing in cold weather feels so much more tir­ing and dif­fi­cult and all the more rea­son to take nec­es­sary steps to stay safe. The colder it is out­side, the more im­por­tant it is for your body to get a de­cent warm up, some stretch­ing and a good cool down as you end your work­out. This helps to el­e­vate mus­cle tem­per­a­ture, al­lows for greater flex­i­bil­ity in the mus­cles and joints and lessens in­jury risk.

An ad­e­quate warm-up/ cool-down in cold tem­per­a­tures in­volves 10 min­utes or so of a low-in­ten­sity ac­tiv­ity. In se­vere con­di­tions, it can be dif­fi­cult to ad­e­quately el­e­vate mus­cle tem­per­a­ture. If this is the case, a warm up should be longer and with slightly greater in­ten­sity.

When ex­er­cis­ing in the cold, it also is ex­tremely im­por­tant to dress ap­pro­pri­ately, drink wa­ter be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter the ac­tiv­ity and avoid al­co­hol. Al­co­hol di­lates blood ves­sels, en­cour­ag­ing heat loss and in­creases fluid loss through its di­uretic ef­fects.

Be heart smart in cold weather. Heart attacks par­tic­u­larly are com­mon in seden­tary men and women who en­gage in sud­den ex­er­cise such as shov­el­ing snow. In the cold, the ar­ter­ies in the heart con­strict and blood pres­sure rises and it is harder to breathe and move ef­fi­ciently. Heart at­tack risk in­creases in the el­derly, those who have pre­ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions such as car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and in those who are in­ac­tive and over­weight. One study in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Car­di­ol­ogy re­ported 53 per­cent more heart attacks hap­pen dur­ing the win­ter months as com­pared to the sum­mer­time. Know your lim­i­ta­tions, plan ac­cord­ingly and lis­ten to your body.

Fact or myth? A com­monly held be­lief is that most peo­ple gain five to 10 pounds dur­ing the hol­i­days. The good news is that re­cent stud­ies show that weight gain ac­tu­ally amounts typ­i­cally to only about one pound dur­ing the win­ter hol­i­day sea­son. The bad news how­ever is that for most, this ex­tra weight is not lost dur­ing the re­main­der of the year. The slow rise in weight through the years may be a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to obe­sity later in life. Re­searchers asked study par­tic­i­pants about fac­tors that they felt might in­flu­ence weight change, in­clud­ing stress, hunger, ac­tiv­ity level or num­ber of hol­i­day par­ties at­tended. It was found that only two fac­tors in­flu­enced weight gain; lev­els of hunger and amount of ac­tiv­ity. No sur­prise that those who re­ported be­ing much more ac­tive or much less hun­gry were the least likely to gain weight dur­ing hol­i­days and some even lost weight.

Man­age stress. The amount of stress we ex­pe­ri­ence from day to day has a great deal of in­flu­ence on how well our bod­ies func­tion. Re­searchers have been study­ing the ef­fects of long-term stress and in­creases in the in­ci­dence of hy­per­ten­sion as we age. Al­though stress it­self is not the sole cause of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases, it can play a sig­nif­i­cant role in its pro­gres­sion and in the sever­ity of symp­toms.

One study sought to de­ter­mine how long-term work in a stress­ful set­ting might af­fect blood pres­sure. The study ex­am­ined 213 men be­tween the ages of 30 and 60. In in­ter­views about the par­tic­i­pants’ work his­to­ries, the re­searchers asked about fac­tors such as free­dom to con­trol their own work and free­dom to make de­ci­sions, along with as­sess­ments of job de­mands and pres­sures. Men who re­ported spend­ing more than 25 years in a high­stress, low-con­trol job had higher sys­tolic blood pres­sure val­ues both at work (av­er­age 4.8 mmHg higher) and at home (av­er­age 7.9 mmHg higher) when com­pared with men who held less stress­ful jobs.

If you find your­self in a con­stant state of mo­tion and in­ter­ac­tion with oth­ers, sooner or later this will cre­ate stress. It is im­por­tant to take time to re­lax and un­wind pe­ri­od­i­cally through­out the day, even if it is only for a few min­utes. Deep breath­ing tech­niques and sim­ple stretches can help take the edge off an oth­er­wise hec­tic day. Mar­jie Gil­liam is an In­ter­na­tional Sports Sci­ences Mas­ter cer­ti­fied per­sonal trainer and fit­ness con­sul­tant. She owns Cus­tom Fit­ness Per­sonal Train­ing Ser­vices. Write to her in care of the Day­ton Daily News, call her at (937) 878-9018 or send e-mail to mar­ Her web­site is at

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.