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Even though Christmas has passed, low temperatures make us realize that winter is coming, and if you think that your joints and muscles tend to be stiffer and vulnerable in cold weather, you are right!
Winter’s temperatures may impact the way your joints and muscles react.
The cold weather impairs your body’s functions by requiring more energy to maintain a normal body temperature. When it’s cold, your body does whatever it takes to make sure your internal temperature is consistent, such as limiting blood flow to the limb muscles, making them colder.
This makes muscles and joints less efficient, slower in reaction, and more prone to injury when cold, especially during fast-paced activities like sports. Cold weather may also tense up or tighten already injured muscles or joints.
Going through an accurate warmup routine before exercising in cold temperatures is one of the most secure ways to protect your muscles and joints from injury. Keep your muscles safe doing some gentle cardio and dynamic stretches before moving into more intense physical activity.
You can have a look at some dynamic stretches here: https://www.octopusclinic.com/exercises-videos/videos/#13-dynamic-stretching
These are 3 of the most at-risk muscle groups in cold conditions.
Knees: Anterior cruciate ligament tears are among the most common skiing injuries also because the knee ligaments are already susceptible to injury in the cold.
You can read about how to prevent skiing injuries here: https://www.octopusclinic.com/prevent-ski-and-snowboarding-injuries-html/
Shoulders: Injuries like a rotator cuff tear are far more likely to happen when it’s too cold. Click on this link to watch one of the many exercises you can use to warm up your shoulders and upper body: https://www.octopusclinic.com/videos/64-dynamic-arms/
Hips: Excessive tightness or stiffness from the cold can lead to a major hip injury such as a labral tear. Hips are complex joints but very important as involved in one of your main activities, walking. If you want to know more about hip stiffness and pain on the side of the hip you can read our blog here: https://www.octopusclinic.com/exercises-for-a-stiff-hip-painful-hip/
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