Exercising tips for the winter months

When the temperature drops and surfaces get slippery, it is a struggle to get outdoors for exercise. But, as we all know holiday food selections tempt us to indulge, while also causing regret.

Here are some tips from The National Athletic Trainer’s Association to help children and adults exercise in the winter month:.

Warm up and cool down. Cold weather constricts muscles, so allow enough time for proper stretching to warm up muscles before you exercise. Cool down with stretches to keep you limber and flexible. Leg, arm and calf stretches should be held for 15-30 seconds for best results.

Dress in layers. Wear layers for maximum warmth. Shed layers as needed during your activity. Make sure the layer closest to your skin is a material that will wick moisture from your skin. Your outer layer should be wind proof and water resistant. Don’t forget a hat or headband and gloves. Wear reflective clothing if you are out in the dark.

Put your best foot forward. Make sure to wear shoes or boots that fit properly and will also keep the snow and moisture from getting you feet wet and cold. Materials such as GORE-TEX are best for insulating, repelling water and providing maximum support.

Stock up on smart foods. It’s easy to grab a cookie or holiday treat in lieu of a healthy snack alternative. Choose foods and beverages that will help fuel your body for cold weather workouts such as fruit, whole-grain breads, nuts and sports drinks.

If you enjoy running or walking, there is no reason you can’t enjoy these activities year-round by wearing the right winter clothing.

Try something new this winter. Snow shoeing, cross country skiing, ice skating and even sledding are great aerobic activities that will get your heart rate up and help tone arms and legs for spring. Since falls on the ice or snow can cause injury, make sure to start slowly and get acclimated to the conditions.

If you’re surrounded by a winter wonderland, pick up a snowball and have some fun with family or friends. This is a great upper body exercise. Remember to use good form, aim and toss moderately; you’re not pitching in the World Series.

Shoveling can also be a great exercise, but use good technique to avoid injury. When lifting, your feet and shoulders should stay square and face the shovel to prevent possible injuries to your back, neck and shoulders. Start slowly to build endurance and improve on technique.

It’s hard to stay motivated when the weather is a challenge, so bring along a friend who shares your joy of fitness (or who will get you moving).

If you just can’t stand the battle of the elements, join a gym. Many health clubs offer incentives during the winter months that reduce cost. Take a swim, try yoga or even learn how to rock climb.

The Lycoming Mall is open for the public to walk the mall from 8 to 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday, as well as Sunday from 9 to 11 a.m. There are .5 mile, .8 mile, and 1.1-mile walking loop routes. Stop by The LifeCenter if you have any questions.

Always consult with your physician before starting a new routine.

If you have any questions, or if you suffer from an injury caused during an outdoor recreational activity, contact Susquehanna Health Sports Medicine.

Seth Kinley is the coordinator of Susquehanna Health Sports Medicine.

For more information about Sports Medicine related injuries, call 570-320-7456.