Cold weather is no reason to keep you from playing outside sports during the wintertime, but there can be extra hazards that may lead to unpleasant sports injuries. Sports injuries are nothing to take lightly – just one mistake and you could end up in an athletic training center doing months of physical therapy. Fortunately, you can avoid most of these injuries by taking just a little extra care of yourself and being aware of your wintery surroundings. Here are a few tips on how to avoid sports injuries during the winter months.
1. Warming Up Is More Important Than Ever
You should be warming up before any major physical activity anyway, but it’s even more important during the winter, since cold muscles are more prone to injury. Gentle stretches and light exercises will take the chill off your muscles and leave them more flexible and ready to go.
2. Notice Your Surroundings
Snow can cover up obstacles and patches of ice. Do a quick exploration of the area where you’ll be playing and make sure you’re aware of open water, trees, rocks, and any major ice patches. That way, when you get around to actually playing or practicing your game, you can worry less about accidentally running into a snow-covered fence you thought was just a snow drift.
3. Listen To Your Body
In the summertime, if you’re tired or sore, you can often still participate in sports without injuring yourself. However, that is not always the case in winter. Because of the extra toll the cold takes on your body, it’s often a better idea to bow out altogether if you’re not feeling up to it. Don’t push yourself – your physical limits in the summer are not the same as your physical limits in the winter.
4. Stay Hydrated
Just like in the summer, you run the risk of dehydration during physical activity. You may even run a higher risk during the winter, because we don’t think to take as many water breaks when we’re cold. Make sure you take as many water breaks as you would during a warmer month. On every water break, restretch those muscles as well to keep them nice and limber.
5. Layer Up
Layers are your friend for winter sports. Each layer should be loose and light, making it simple to add or remove. This lets you easily adjust for your changing body temperature. Wearing a single giant coat may keep you toasty warm at first, but as you move around and start to heat up, your only options are to leave it on and overheat or take it off and shiver. Many small layers can help eliminate this problem.
Stay gorgeous everyone!